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Prisoner of the Japs 



BE FULLY INFORMED 
TSE'A'D THESE BOOKS FOR WARTIME 

Retreat with StUwett 

BY JACK BJEJUDEN 

The Japanese Enemy AND Government by Assassination 

BY HUGH BYAS 

Assignment to Berlin Appeasement's Child 

BY HARRY W. FLANNERY BY THOMAS J. HAMILTON 

Into the VdRey AND Men on Bataan 

BY JOHN HERSEY 

Desert War India without Fable 

BY RUSSELL HTT.T. BY KATE L. MITCHELL 

Circuit of Conquest Prelude to Victory 

BY BELMAN MOBIN BY JAMES B. RESTON 

Berlin Diary Design for Power 

BY WIULIAlSdt L, SHERER BY FREDERICK L, SCHUMAN 

m _ WITH MANY MAPS 

Last Train from Berlin BY ^^ D BRODSKy 

BY HOWARD K. SMITH 

I%e Los* Day^ of Sevastopol 

BY BORIS VOYE1BKHOV 

Moscow War Diary 

BY ALEXANDER WEKIH 

These are Borzoi Books, published by ALFRED A, KNOPF 



PRISONER 

of the Japs 

JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULAJUIAA 

By Gwen Dew 

fYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 



AJUULUA 




JUUUUUUl 



ALFRED A KNOPF NEW YORK 
1943 



COPYRIGHT 1943 BY GWEN DEW 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form 
without permission in writing from the publisher, ex- 
cept by a reviewer who may quote brief passages m a 
review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper. 

Manufactured m the United States of America. 

Published simultaneously in Canada by The Ryer- 
son Press. 

FIRST EDITION 

This book has been produced in full compliance 
with all government regulations for the conservation 
of paper j metal) ond other essential materials* 



TO MOTHER AND DAD 

Whose Courage Was Supreme 

I write this book also in humble tribute to the 
American men who are fighting so magnifi- 
cently on the land and sea and in the air of the 
Pacific area, so that such things of horror as I 
saw cannot happen again in the world of to- 
morrowthe world of peace, freedom, and 
justice we must create for all who live on this 
mighty earth; and to all those who made this 
trip possible, and whose belief held steady that 
I would come home again out of human bond- 
age: my aunt, Miss Sybil Robinson; Melda and 
Oscar Bard, who will understand; and Fred 
Gaertner, Jr., managing editor of the Detroit 
News, who not only has encouraged me in my 
writing and travels, but whose unending efforts 
in my behalf during my long months of impris- 
onment gave strength and help to my family, 
who were denied any word of whether I was 
dead or alive by our enemy, the Japanese. 



Prelude to War PAGE 5 

ft Havoc Over Hong Kong 20 

in The Curtain Goes Up 29 

iv Terror in the Town 41 

v Writing on the Wall 49 

vi "The Japs Are Here!" 62 

vii Rising Curtain 7 1 

vra First Act 82 

ix " We Must Surrender " 92 

x Captured! 102 

xi " Silent Night, Holy Night " i u 
xii " Like Christmas We Used to Know " n 8 

xin Rape and Death 1 26 

xiv Hatred and Heroism 1 39 

xv Strange Interlude 1 5 1 

xvi Captive City 163 

xvii Guard of Honor 1 74 

xvra Balcony Seat 186 

xix Cake Without Frosting 197 

xx Looted City 203 

xxi Rule of the Rising Sun 2 14 

xxn Prison Bound 224 

xxiii By Right of Conquest 233 

xxiv Just People 250 

xxv Concentrated Life 262 

xxvi Human Nature in the Raw 273 

xxvii Ifs Good-by for Now 283 

xxvin Out of Huriijj^jgAuji 292 



Foreword 



I 



WRITE of the ruin of the Far East with deep uahappiness. 
I love the Orient, as do all who have ever felt her lure, as a 
man does a mysterious, fascinating, and wise woman. In China 
there was the knowledge of the centuries; in the East Indies, 
the peace of an earthly paradise; in the Philippines, the excite- 
ment of the birth of another independence; in India, the color 
and rhythm of ancient living; in Japan, the physical loveliness 
of an island blessed by nature. 

I would rather tell you of the beauties I have seen here in 
other years, but one nation decided to crash the peace of half 
a world of people and to destroy all but their own way of liv- 
ing. They determined to do this, not by treaty or trade, but by 
treason and treachery, by bombs and shells, by airplanes and 
battleships. The lives of millions of men, women, and children 
have been piled on the pyre of Japan's ambitions to dominate 
the white men of the world, all yellow men who are not Jap- 
anese, and all brown and bkck men who come under her blood- 
dripping juggernaut. 

I have ranged the world from Shanghai to London, from 
Borneo to Bali, from Paris to Palembang. I have had friends in 
every country, and gained wisdom from every nation. But I 
had to learn sadly, also that there comes a time in the history of 
nations when the good is overridden by the bad, when military 
might becomes stronger than the human decencies of its indi- 
viduals. 

What happened to me in Hgng Kong is important only as it 
reflects the type of enedPJ^PMFace, what treatment we can 
expect if they conquer, what die Japanese think of the white 
people of the earth and their allies. 



Vi ] FOREWORD 

It is not a pretty story I have to tell you of what happened 
when Japan determined to go beyond her mass murders of mil- 
lions of Chinese to the extermination of the British, American, 
and Dutch in the Pacific area. It is heartbreaking, it is horrible. 
But face it we must, for we are in conflict with an enemy that 
in a few short months has created the second largest empire in 
the world, from the ruins of other nations. It will crumble, but 
that is the situation at this moment. 

Perhaps what I have to tell you will make a little clearer 
what we are fighting for in the Solomons, why men died at 
Chungking and Corregidor, at Hong Kong and Singapore. It 
is so the Japanese cannot inflict their way of living, their medi- 
eval standards, their lack of humanity and decency, their ruth- 
lessness and bestiality, on our kind of world. 

We were forbidden by Jap military law to bring out of im- 
prisonment a single scrap of paper, so between this and the 
after-effects of innutrition, which seems to have effected my 
ability to remember names, I hope I shall be forgiven any er- 
rors in names. I smuggled out certain documents which I 
thought of value, and have relied upon these to keep events as 
nearly as possible in their order during those dreadful days of 
the death of Hong Kong. 

I have referred also to material which I sent to Newsweek, 
the Detroit News, United Press, and the North American 
Newspaper Alliance, on this and previous trips. From them I 
have used excerpts to show that I tried to warn of Japan's in- 
tentions at a time when this was considered " emotionalism," 
for " Japan would never dare attack America and Great Brit- 
ain," the people of these nations were stating in amusement. I 
worked then to make my country realize the death-stained 
trail that lay ahead of us if we were not prepared to face the 
realities of a militaristic Japan. I am still working toward that 
end. __ 

I am indebted to the State ri8pWhent for permission to re- 
turn to the Far East as an accredited correspondent at a time 
when this was almost an impossibility for a woman. 



FOREWORD [ Vli 

I knew what hazards I faced in returning to a Far East at 
war. I do not complain of a single hardship, for I chose to sub- 
mit myself to them. I only hope that by what I learned in per- 
sonal suffering and observation of the tortures of others I can 
make you realize the actualities of all-out war with Japan. 

For the sake of those who have been left behind, and whom 
we wish to protect from further terrorism or torture, I have 
hidden a few identities. I should like to give high praise to all 
those who so richly deserved it, but there will come a day 
when their names will be glorified in history. 

There remain many American citizens in Japan and occu- 
pied China and in the Philippines men and women whose 
names Japan refuses to disclose so that their suffering families 
at home may know that they are alive. The samg is true of 
150,000 British and Dutch citizens. There has barely been one 
word allowed to escape of the Allies who were g&ptured in the 
frightful fall of Singapore, and no one knows 3kacdy what has 
happened to the British forces there. Japan will not respect 
even the decencies of warfare if there can be such and will 
not allow the Red Cross to operate in these Stricken territories, 
although it is hoped this can be forced upoi^er. It is part of 
her sadistic desire to crush all humanities as thfcy apply to her 
enemies. 

The Chinese have fought Japan's atrocities and'Jier invasion 
for five years, and ten million men, women, and children are 
dead, millions are homeless, millions have faced famine and 
starvation as a result. Now it is our turn. What is happening 
behind the wall of silence that covers the fate of our captured 
civilians and soldiers we can only surmise. And we who have 
been prisoners can only shudder at what we guess, and pray 
for those whom we left behind. 

To the fathers and mothers, the wives and sisters and broth- 
ers, and sons and daughters of those who are fighting in the 
Pacific I can only say: " God bless you, and may He make you 
realize the glorious thing your soldier is doing to put up the 
flag of freedom once more/* 



] FOREWORD 

And to those men themselves I want to give my deep grati- 
tude and praise for the magnificent fight they are waging. I 
stand in humble gratitude before the thoughts of all those un- 
known soldiers who are fighting, risking their lives each sec- 
ond, dying some of them on the land, in the air, on the sea, 
so that the things which happened to me and to all those in 
Hong Kong, to all those who were imprisoned in filthy jails, 
or tortured by medieval madmen throughout the Far East, can 
be avenged. To them history hands the torch that must be car- 
ried high, the flame that will burn so brightly that Japan must 
know there is no pkce on this earth for such horror, treachery, 
and death. On the pages of history they are writing splendid 
epics which will echo down through eternity . . . Wake Is- 
land . . . Corregidor . . . Bataan . . . Buna . . . Guadalcanal 
... on the length, the breadth, the height, and the depth of 
the entire Pacific. 

It is for us at home to see that there never comes a day when 
these fighting men will be without guns to fire, planes to fly, 
ships to sail. They can't come home to make them or to pay for 
them. That is our job on the home front. It is up to each of us 
who remains behind to work harder, faster, longer so that our 
men may neves: again find help coming too little, too kte. 

Let those -who remember Pearl Harbor remember Hong 
Kong too. Those of us who lost freedom there as prisoners of 
the Japanese know the meaning of the words: Give me liberty 
or give me death. For that we are fighting, for that we may die. 
But from that fight will come our brave new world in which 
the Japans -and die Germanys of the earth cannot inflict de- 
struction and death. 

Wherever on earth, in the Americas, Africa, or Europe, in 
Russia or the Far East, there are men and women who are will- 
ing to cjife that freedom may live, I salute you. 

Lif e'is a shining thing only when the heart is brave, 

NeiyYork, December 7, 2)42 



Prisoner of the Japs 



WAR! 



December 8, 1941 
7.45 a.m. 

THE SUN tosses a prodigal golden wist over Hong Kong, 
"the Impenetrable Fortress of the Far East" over one of the 
most glorious harbors in the world, over the proud peaks, the 
crescent beaches, and flower-starred hills. 

The giant Hong Kong clipper restlessly 'waits at Kai-Tek 
Airport this Monday morning, which is December 7 in the 
American hemisphere. Sun sheen makes of it a glossy silver 
bird poised for the last few nanittes before taking off for Ma- 
nila on a shuttle trip to connect imth the Philippine clipper -for 
Guam, Wake, Midtvay, Pearl Harbor, and San Francisco. 
American and Chinese passengers writ on the same field from 
which I saw Japanese Kurusu leave for his traitorous Wash- 
ington coherence only a few weeks before. They watch the 
CNAC planes on the line, ready to go to Chungking, observe 
with quickened interest a formation of high-flying ships ur- 
gently making their way toward the airport. 

" The British are having some air maneuvers today? an 
American remarks. 

" Must have sent up some planes pom Singapore, because 
I dorft think we have that many here? an Englishman answers. 

The planes 'whine closer. 

3 



4 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

" God, whafs that? " shrills another. 

They watch with unbelieving eyes, wide with fear, for the 
bellies of the ships have slit open, and down through the air 
plunge black daggers of death, directed at the airport, the 
clipper. The field 9 s neat order is torn to ragged chaos. There 
is a splashing burst of flame, water, steel. The clipper is sunk, 
the planes damaged, the field pitted. Men are dead. The planes 
above bearing the red circle power-dive at the field. They 
machine-gun bystanders. Anti-aircraft guns bark. The war 
birds drop the rest of their murder missiles on the crowded 
Kai-Tek market near by, which is wiped out, leaving eight 
hundred Chinese men, women, and children only bits of man- 
gled flesh. 

Japan has attacked. The Far East has burst into the consum- 
ing flames of all-out war. 

This was our Pearl Harbor in Hong Kong! 



Chapter I 

Prelude to War 



WA 



'AR. War. What is it? That's what I wanted to know. 
I wanted to know what it means, what it looks like when 
it drops in your own front yard, for there are no front-line 
trenches today, only those that in a split second make of your 
home, your family, your life, masses of complete ruin. It was 
the reason I pleaded my case with the State Department over 
a period of months to obtain a passport to return to the Fat 
East. s 

It had been almost two years since our government asked 
all American women to return to the United States, and to se- 
cure a passport for heading back was considered an impossible 
ambition. 

At first my application was turned down flatly. I went more 
fully into plans for the trip and finally was informed I coulc 
get a passport for the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies 
That wasn't enough for me. I tried again and again and again 
Each time I added more details of my project, more inf orma 
tion on what I had done before in the Orient, what I wante< 
to do this time, whom I represented. How I envied men re 
porters who did not have to hurdle these barriers to get to 
pkces where history was'in the making! 

I felt, most sincerely, that there should be a trained wonuu 
observer in the Far East, someone who was interested in th 
human details of international affairs and who was not so COD 
cerned with military strategy and political expediency that h 

5 



6 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

could not see the forest for the trees the human war for the 
military ways of war. 

My plans included a short visit to Japan; then on to China, 
Hong Kong, Chungking, Mongolia, the Burma Road, Malaya, 
Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines all the Far 
Eastern circuit. How sad and strange to think that now the 
Rising Sun flies over most of this territory, that in a compara- 
tively few months the map of r Ask has become so altered, and 
Japan has become the second largest empire m the world! 

I was giving a year of my life, five thousand feet of color 
film, and all my expenses to the cause of China in her fight 
against Japan. I was going to make a movie of what American 
money was doing in China in medical work, schools, am- 
bulance corps, co-operatives. And I wanted pictures of the 
Burma Road in its human equations, from the hard-working 
coolies to the amazing engineers who reconstructed this an- 
cient silk highway. But before I could make it, Japan engulfed 
me too imprisoned me, virtually starved me, before I escaped 
her murderous fingers. 

China had already been at war for four years, but I thought 
the devastating flames would spread still farther. I anticipated 
full war, but I did not expect such drastic Nipponese success 
in its pursuit. Who did? The Japanese military predicted it, 
but who were we to believe such exorbitant claims? # 

I went to Hawaii to wait for the decision on my passport 
so I would be nearer the jumping-off point if it came. I had 
missed the war in Europe by one week, and I didn't intend 
to be caught outside this one. While waiting I wrote in one 
article: " In Hawaii 40 per cent of the population is Japanese, 
and there are 60,000 more Japanese than white people in the 
islands. How loyal will they be if war comes? " 

I covered the arrival of a little Japanese, one Admiral Kichi- 
sabura Nomura, the new Ambassador 'to the United States. 
" I am not being sent to Washington to talk of war, but to 
rhinfr of peace/' he announced. 

When finally one fine morning I got a dip saying there was 



PRELUDE TO WAR [ 7 

a registered package for me from Washington at the post 
.office, I hardly dared get it. I looked at it a long time 
with a prayer in my throat, then broke the seal in trembling 
fear. I was shaking still more when I saw what the Depart- 
ment of State had stamped in the front of that shiny new pass- 
port: 

" Good for Japan, China, the Philippines, Dutch East In- 
dies, Singapore, Malaya, for journalistic work for two years/' 

So I had my passport to war, and was on the move again! 

There was a midnight sailing, but not one with flowers, mu- 
sic, and alohas, for which Hawaii is famed. The sheds were 
almost dark, and guards kept anyone from going far down the 
pier or onto the boat. This was in May 1941, but already there 
was an undercurrent of suggestion that all was not well in the 
Pacific. Even at that early date there was a thousand-mile ac- 
tive navy patrol around the islands. You explain Pearl Harbor 
I can't. 

There were forty-seven men and myself on the President 
Gar field under Captain John Murphy, headed for the Far East. 
These included Clarence E. Gauss, Ambassador to China; 
Richard T. Butrick, Counsellor to the Embassy, Peking; Colo- 
nel Samuel Lutz Howard, commander of the United States 
Marines in China, now a prisoner in the Philippines; and Fred 
Twogood, head of Standard Oil in China, later held prisoner 

y the Japs for a hundred and nine days. 

During the voyage we were able to forget the war into which 
we were deliberately turning, and enjoyed spirited talk, good 
company, and fine fun. But each of us was jerked back to the 
month, year, and place when we sighted Kobe harbor. Lying 
offside were a few gray warships, and there was an air of rigid 
inspection about the entire waterfront. 

I had first visited Japan in 1936, when it was a charming 
country full of scenic beauty, smiling geishas, and bowing po- 
lite litde men. I had been thrilled with my first sight of it from 
the ship, with the pier filled with women in bright kimonos, 
wearing big obi bows J&ke butterflies perched on their backs. 



8 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Tiny black-eyed children had waved the red circle flags of the 
Rising Sun, shouting: " Banzai, banzai! " 

This time there were only half a dozen women in dull gray 
kimonos who had come to welcome a radical woman speaker 
from India who had been in the United States denouncing 
British rule in India. Naturally the Japs would greet with pleas- 
ure anyone doing this sort of propaganda. Otherwise there 
were only dozens of little soldiers carrying rifles as big as them- 
selves. 

Before, there had been a profusion of hurrying traffic. Now 
there was hardly a car visible, and those few were of 1925 
vintage. The stores had quantities of merchandise, but it was 
of poor quality. None of the lovely things which used to de- 
light the eyes of the Japs, rich or poor, were on display, be- 
cause no one could buy luxuries, and every sale had to be re- 
ported to the government. 

Ceiling prices were established, but quality had nothing to 
do with what you paid. You took what you could get and 
asked no questions. Clothes as well as food were rationed, and 
to secure a pair of shoes that weren't made of paper furnished 
a major problem. Japanese thinking made it plain that wars 
can be won only by planning for years ahead, and it can be 
done by men wearing cloth shoes as well as by those wearing 
leather ones. 

Even at this date Japan found that more than 30 per cent of 
its national income was going for war and rearmament, which 
was a great jump from tie 6.1 per cent of 1936, just before the 
attack on China. To what heights it has leaped since, one can 
hardly guess. From the beginning of the " Incident " in 1937, 
rigid measures were established for marshaling all capital funds, 
public and private. 

Japan had just revised her " Peace Law," so that " thought 
offenders," reluctant to reform after prison terms, would be 
sent to detention stations until they became thoroughly " con- 
verted." Their bad thoughts were those " incompatible with 
the traditions of the national structure." In other words, you 



PRELUDE TO WAR [ 9 

couldn't even think in Japan unless you thought the military 
way. 

It was hard to talk to many Japanese, for they didn't want 
to be seen with foreigners. Already word had gone out that 
Americans were bad medicine. Many things were evident on 
the surface, however. Countless shops were closed along each 
street, because of the impossibility of getting merchandise. It 
is estimated that 70 per cent are closed in Tokyo now. 

You could buy no silk, wool, or leather, no luxuries, no 
cars, little gas. There were extreme rationing, high taxes. Here 
was a Japan antagonistic to America and already at war with 
China. A Japan still buying our scrap iron, took, motors, and 
food. But a Japan almost ready to strike, almost finished with 
its long preparation. 

As we left the harbor there was an incident on the near-by 
President Polk that nearly blew up the entire dynamite cache, 
and all of us literally wiped our brows as our ship finally pulled 
out. Shots from a BB air rifle on the Polk had hit a Japanese of- 
ficial in the port. If Japan had been ready, under their inter- 
pretation these shots would have become machine-gun bul- 
lets, the superficial skin injuries fatal ones, and the whole thing 
could have been blown up to major proportions in international 
news. I cabled the true story to United Press -and thus sent 
out my first dispatch on near war. 

I wasn't sorry to leave Japan. It wasn't the charming land 
of cherry blossoms it had been before. The children still played 
with their kites, but men in the fields awaited their turn to be- 
come oil for die flaming defeat of China. Women smiled, but 
sadly. Japan was already weary of war in its daily details, but 
it will never tire of the fanatical sacrifices which it is ready to 
make so the world may be saved for the rule of Japan. 

I was met at the ship in Shanghai by John Morris, Far East- 
ern manager of the United Press, for which I had done special 
writing when I was in China before. This came after I secured 
the first interview Madame Chiang Kai-shek had given in 
three years, after having followed her up the Yangtze River, 



10 3 PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

been carried 4,000 feet up the side of the mountain to Ruling, 
her summer retreat. Later I flew from Shanghai to Canton 
with Morris to interview both Madame Chiang and the gen- 
eralissimo, during a time of trouble with the war lords around 
Canton. 

I remember vividly two things Madame Chiang said to me. 
The first was: " You can't lift a stone slab with silk threads. 
You must first forge a steel band, link by link." She was re- 
ferring to the growth of a democratic nation step by step, and 
how each of us must do his little part in the whole scheme of 
things. 

The other was in answer to my question as to where she got 
strength to carry on all the tremendous tasks she had under- 
taken. She thought for a minute and then replied: "What 
strength I have comes from within, and above." 

I approached Shanghai with mingled feelings. I had met hap- 
piness and tragedy there before, and I had loved it and hated it. 
Since I had left, the Japanese had bombed it, taken part of it, 
were wooing the rest. While the International Settlement and 
the French Concession still technically remained the virgin 
property of many nations, I had an idea that Jap seduction had 
been fairly successful. 

Shanghai has become the city of lost souls, the first Chinese 
city in size, the last stand of the refugees from all the world. 
It is symbolic of everything good and bad in Cathay. It is as 
Chinese as chopsticks, yet it now belongs to Japan. But even 
though the Japs run it, it is still also die center of activities for 
Free and Vichy Frenchmen, White and Red Russians, Nazi 
and anti-Nazi Germans, millionaire and starving Jewish ref- 
ugees, for Rumanians, Syrians, Indians, Koreans fifty-five 
different nationalities, and mixtures of them all. In its day 
Shanghai has been one of the gayest, wickedest and wittiest 
cities in the world, and throughout its turbulent history it has 
been bought and sold out many times. 

Shanghai has many faces. The International Settlement with 
its fine buildings is a tribute to American and British firms, 



PRELUDE TO WAR [ II 

whose pioneer representatives built the city on the shifting 
mud banks of the river. A few blocks either way, all China 
is at one's beck and call tiny shops filled with glorious silks, 
dried fish, gaily painted wash-basins, and delicately carved 
fans. 

On the other side of the Settlement is the Japanese sector, 
Hongkew, separated by narrow Soochow Creek, as smelly as 
Roquefort cheese. When I arrived, soldiers with bayonets 
guarded each bridge, barricades choked every entrance, while 
Japanese gunboats controlled the Whangpoo River and the 
Yangtze down to the sea. Shanghai was even then like a huge 
embryo concentration camp, where everyone was as yet free 
to act as he wished, but no one knew when the Tokyo trap 
would close its teeth. 

I soon felt that life in the city was filled with more than av- 
erage drama. Some of it lived before me. Some was hidden in 
international depths of treason, trade, and bargain. "Who 
knows when it will crack wide open into holocaust? Who 
knows when Tokyo will decide the time has come to declare 
the power of the Rising Sun against the Stars and Stripes? " I 
wrote shortly after I arrived. 

Shanghai has always been religiously gay, and this last hec- 
tic summer was no exception. Tiffins, teas, dinners, dancing, 
were the order of every day. But all the time I was digging in 
back of this f agade of fun to see what was really making Shang- 
hai tick. My findings weren't very encouraging. 

One of the most definite straws in die shifting war wind was 
the departure of Sir Victor Sassoon, who had come to Shang- 
hai ten years before from Bombay with $300,000,000 for in- 
vestment. Now he was withdrawing his immense interests and 
silendy creeping away but not until first he announced that 
Japan would never fight America! 

Every day there were murders, and one morning I saw an 
assassination. It is an Claiming thing to see a man cough his 
lungs out, and proclaims vividly how quickly life can become 
death. The mm was a Chinese, a leading banker who had criti- 



12 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

cized Japan's policies in conquered China, and he was killed as 
he left the American dub, next door to the municipal police 
station. 

The Japanese maintained a clearing house in Jessfield Road 
for purposes of receiving ransom money for kidnapping, in- 
structions for strikes, control of opium-smuggling and white 
slavery. It was a powerful parasitical organization, waxing 
wealthy as its yellow octopus arms reached high and low 
alike. From the lower Yangtze Valley alone the Japanese were 
taking $100,000,000 Shanghai dollars a month in " squeeze." 
Madame Wang Ching-wei, wife of the puppet Chinese ruler 
in Japanese-held China, was reported to specialize in the gam- 
bling and vice ends as her share of the profits. 

It was at this time that the Japanese bombed the Ai .iuican 
gunboat Tutuila at Chungking, so I went to the Japanese press 
conference to see if they could explain that away as easily as 
they had the sinking of the Panay. The spokesman said the 
boat was in a military area, and Americans had been " warned " 
to get out of Chungking anyway. At the height of many thw- 
sand feet there was bound to be a drift of bombs on wift&y 
days. 

" If it should be windy every day, then American property 
may be bombed every day? " I asked. The Japanese nodded. 

Also, in navigation there is always a margin for error at such 
heights, he went on. Did we remember in Europe when an 
English pilot thought he was over Germany, but was over 
Norway when he dropped bombs? 

"But the Japanese did know they were over China this 
morning? " I queried, and then subsided. 

No one was fooling himself too much about the proximity 
of the day of reckoning with Japan, for surrounding the city 
were 150,000 Jap soldiers, armored cars, tank divisions, plane 
squadrons and they were not there for fun. 

On the streets more Chinese were dying daily as the Jap- 
anese hold grew tighter on the city's finances. Over 30,000 
bodies were being taken from the streets every year, as many 



PRELUDE TO WAR [ 13 

as 800 a night, ever since the beginning of the " Incident." 

From Chungking at this time went a cable to President 
Roosevelt, signed by W. S. McCurdy and George Fitch, high 
YMCA official and executive adviser to the Chinese Industrial 
Co-operatives: ^ 

" Chungking Americans cannot understand the continued 
sale of gasoline and oil to Japan. How can we escape responsi- 
bility for recent bombings when thousands perished here, the 
American Methodist Hospital was destroyed, the offices of the 
American Military and Naval Attaches damaged, and U.S.S. 
Tutuila threatened, part of the new model village created with 
American Red Cross funds wrecked, and for the destruction 
of other lives and cities, all enabled by the use of our gasoline 
China appreciates American sympathy and help, but 
it is past the time we ceased being a partner of Japan in her 
crimes and aggression against China." 

I am sure lie Chinese, along with many Americans, were 
completely confused by American contributions to Japan's 
w*r efforts which are now also being used against us in the 
Soi^mons and the whole Pacific area. 

Fitch, McCurdy (now dead), and my friends Fred Two- 
good and J. B. Powell, the great journalist who was mistreated 
by the Japs until he lost part of his feet from gangrene, are 
symbolic of all those pioneer American men who have believed 
in, apd fought for, China. Powell, the number-one executives 
of tke big American companies in the Far East, and newspaper 
correspondents, were thrown into filthy jails and subjected to 
unbelievable conditions when Japan went to war against 
America. They all came home on the same ship I did men 
who had stood by our flag until it was taken down and the 
Rising Sun put in its place. Their health will be impaired for 
years, but they have added a splendid tradition to the spirit of 
American journalism and business, which has carried the Stars 
and Stripes to the far corners of the earth. I knew most of 
them well, but I hardly recognized some when I met them 
again, after they too had been prisoners of the Japs. 



14 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

I did not know then what was in store for them, or for me. 
But somehow I did know a new surging pride in things Amer- 
ican at this time. The last thing I wrote from Shanghai car- 
ried this theme: " I was proud to see the review of these valiant 
United States Marines under Colonel Howard, to know it is 
not only their duty but their wish to serve and die, if neces- 
sary so the American flag may fly wherever there are Amer- 
icans to protect. When later a toast was offered to our country 
and our flag, I gave thanks that I belong to a nation that can 
still give that most precious of toasts: ' To Freedom.' " 

As I moved on down the coast to Hong Kong, I felt more 
and more convinced that war was about to begin. I wrote 
Newsweek, for which I was corresponding: " This thing is 
nearly ready to break. I can't tell you in which direction, but I 
think Japan is about ready to strike, probably in several di- 



rections." 



The British colony of Hong Kong was also much changed 
since my last visit. The government had evacuated all women 
except those on " essential services " two years before, and 
lonesome men damned their fate. 

There is beauty in the harbor of Hong Kong that exists in 
but two other ports in the world, Rio de Janiero and Sydney. 
" The Place of the Sweet Lagoons " is the name given it by 
the Chinese, but I called it " The City of a Million Lights." 
To look up at the protecting Peak at night was to see the breast 
of earth hung with a million sparkles of light, a diamond neck- 
lace lying on black velvet. 

The city was a strange mixture of Chinese and English, of 
sedate streets that had die scent of London, and other secret 
ones with frankly die smell of the Orient. Rickshas were com- 
mon transportation, but the steep climb to the Peak, 1,825 feet 
high, called for sedan chairs carried by two coolies, or the per- 
pendicular tramway. In the harbor lived a floating population 
of 100,000, seldom venturing ashore. 

I stayed at the Repulse Bay Hotel, on the opposite side of 
the island from Hong Kong, one of the most glorious places on 



PRELUDE TO WAR [ 15 

earth. The cliffs on one side dropped down to the rippling sea. 
The great rambling white hotel followed the curve of the hills 
and rested at the feet of the high emerald peaks standing guard 
above. Below were miles of golden crescent beach. 

My first visit was to Sir Shouson Chow, grandfather of my 
tiny little friend Ethel Chun, now Mrs. J. Z. Huang of Wash- 
ington, D. C. Sir Shouson was eighty-three, as active as a 
youth, merry and alert. He had been one of the first Chinese 
sent by the Empress Dowager to the United States to study, 
and one of the few Chinese knighted by the British Empire. I 
was invited to his home to a family dinner in his fine mansion 
on a splendid hilltop a rare honor. 

Within a short month this Shouson Hill was a bitter battle- 
field, the family 'was forced to flee, and in a note I had from Sir 
Shouson, this former millionaire wrote: " Even 1 am now com- 
pelled to live on charity." 

I became acquainted with a young Englishman, Ross, who 
worked for the British Alinistry of Information. One Sunday 
we climbed the Peak, high above the world. There was a 
twenty-two-mile chain of fine paths for walking, and I asked 
about them. " They are for defense purposes," Ross said. When 
the time came, this was true enough, but it was the Japs who 
used them for their defense against the British! 

At one point we looked down at a reservoir, a sparkling mir- 
ror in a jade setting. " Lovely to look at," I observed, " but in 
case of war what happens to a supply so unprotected? " I was 
told that it was so far back in the hills it was inaccessible, and 
that it could be protected against attack by guns. I guess the 
Japs didn't know about that, for a month later they cut off the 
entire water supply. 

As we scrambled down the vertical hillside, I managed to 
gasp a question about the phone cables lying on top of the 
ground in some places. " If I were an enemy, all I'd have to 
do would be to clip these with manicure scissors, and I could 
cut the military command of the island in two." 

Ross had begun to consider me an annoying young 



l6 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

woman, for he laughed and said: " You just don't understand 
about the plan of defense. You can be sure the military know 
how to take care of thiflgs." 

The racing season in Hong Kong was always an important 
part of the life of society. The Jockey Club was exclusive, and 
each box was a complete room, with a large dining and cock- 
tail lounge in back. Various individuals owned these suites and 
gave large parties before the races. I was invited to the box of 
Sir Athol MacGregor, Chief Justice of the colony, and his 
wife, Lady MacGregor. 

Later this club was the scene of one of the worst carnages 
of the 'war. 

The most delightful place I visited was the Chinese-style 
home of Mr. and Mrs. William Stanton, about twenty miles 
from Hong Kong on the mainland, filled with priceless treas- 
ures. The most elaborate party I attended was in honor of the 
wedding anniversary of Sir Robert Hotung and Lady Hotung, 
Chinese philanthropists. A thousand guests were invited, from 
high-ranking Sir Mark Young, the Governor-General, to 
lowly me. Golden decorations filled the elaborate ballroom; 
champagne flowed as proverbially. The candle was burning 
at both ends in Hong Kong, but time was wearing thin 
this lavish fete took place in the first week in December. 

I speak of these things and these people as part of the type 
of living that made Hong Kong so enjoyable. When next I 
sow Sir Athol and Lady MacGregor and Mr. and Mrs. Stan- 
ton, they 'were living in the crudest of conditions, 'with barely 
enough food to keep alive. The 'wash of Jap invasion had swept 
over them too and obliterated, perhaps forever, the splendor of 
living that 'was traditional among the 'wealthy in the Far East. 

One day I watched Japanese Kurusu leave by clipper for 
Washington, where he was hurrying with " peace plans," just 
as had Ambassador Nomuni whom I had watched in Honolulu 
almost a year before. 

Another day brought the arrival of the Canadian troops, 



PRELUDE TO WAR [ 17 

3,000 of them, the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Royal Win- 
nipeg Grenadiers. Strategists said that with their coming Great 
Britain served warning on the world that she intended to de- 
fend her furthermost outpost against all aggression. Rumor 
had it that more troops were expected to arrive, but they had 
been shunted to Singapore, and that much of the ammunition 
and equipment of the first group also had gone there. History 
dictated that in a month thousands of these lads had died that 
their Empire might live on. 

Two weeks previous to the war, Hong Kong went through 
a series of black-outs and mock war conditions. Planes flew 
low and dropped smoke bombs, and realistic air-raid condi- 
tions were simulated. At night we stumbled down dark streets 
to our objectives, usually the Hong Kong Hotel, the social 
center of the city. There would be friends and fun, and not 
too much thought that this was anything but the military hav- 
ing a bit of a go at putting people through the hoops. 

I was doing daily batde with Sergeant Harris at the police 
station over staying in Hong Kong. It was his job to see I got 
out when my passport specified, mine to stay because I thought 
war was about to break. I don't know which of us enjoyed the 
argument more. 

" Why don't you want to leave? " he would ask. 

" There's going to be a war, and I want to see the balloon 
go up." 

The sergeant was one of the first I saw when I arrived in 
concentration camp a few months later. He shook his finger, 
smiling at the same time. " I told you you ought to leave." 

" I told you your balloon was going up," I answered. " The 
only trouble was that I didn't think the blooming thing would 
come down so blinking fast! " 

I was having trouble with some Chungking arrangements 
which Cheng Pao-nan, of the American Bureau for Medical 
Aid to China, had promised to make. In the course of straight- 
ening these out, I met Madame Sun Yat-sen, wife of the 



l8 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

founder of the Republic of China, and sister of Madame 
Chiang Kai-shek. She is very active in war relief, especially 
in the co-operative movement, but was living quietly in Hong 
Kong at this rime. 

On the last Saturday before I finally felt forced to leave, no 
matter what was up die Jap kimono sleeve, I was a judge of 
costumes at a brilliant Chinese-British Bomber Fund Ball. 
About midnight genial T. B. Wilson, of the American Presi- 
dent Lines, called for silence and read an order calling all re- 
serves to their posts. Men looked at one another, nodded, and 
left women sitting alone the first step that means war. In 
fact, the total of what war means to women from start to fin- 
ish: aloneness in which to face whatever comes her way. 

After the party I met Stuart Gray, the editor of the Hong 
Kong Telegraph, to bid him good-by, as he was leaving during 
the night for Australia to spend his first vacation in five years 
with his wife. When he went to the harbor a little later, his 
boat had unexpectedly left. Apparently the captain had de- 
cided to make a quick exit, for he was not supposed to sail un- 
til dawn. Stuart arranged to take another ship in the morning, 
part of a convoy of forty ships. 

I stood on the top of die Peak watching them sail away, wav- 
ing good-by with a strange feeling of finality in my heart. 
Within twenty-four hours pan of that convoy 'was captured 
by the Japs, part was sunk, and part escaped. I did not know 
until a week ago, after all these months of fear, that Stuart 
reached Australia after a thrilling escape at sea. 

Sunday was always a busy day, for there were coundess 
parties, beginning with breakfast and riding, luncheon and 
sailing, and ending with cocktails and dinner. So it was diis 
day. Whiskies and sodas enjoyed their usual popularity. Mili- 
tary authorities enjoyed their usual round of social duties, as 
they did at Pearl Harbor. Some of the officers whose duties 
were to deal with die Japanese on border problems continued 
their festivities until five in die morning of December 8.- 

It was all no different from what Sundays had been in die 



PRELUDE TO WAR [ 19 

" Gibraltar of the Far East " for the hundred years the British 
Empire had considered this its last outpost. Manners and modes 
had changed, but not the elegances of living. 

Twenty-six miles away across the border, 50,000 troops 
were moving closer and closer to the edge of the British-owned 
New Territories. The men were small in size and cheaply 
equipped, but they were ready to die, and they were following 
precision details that had been planned for many years. Troops, 
ammunition, guns, supplies, all moved in unison. Poised on die 
airport at Canton, seventy-three miles away, was a squadron 
of pknes. 

In Tokyo men watched the pins on the map. In Washington 
Kurusu and Nomura talked peace plans with the American 
government. In Pearl Harbor officers were recovering from 
Hawaiian week-ends and failing to listen to the words of an 
underling who warned of approaching aircraft. In Manila 
there was no thought of tomorrow. 

It 'was only in Tokyo that men stood poised, ready to move 
the pins on the map of the Pacific area. The pins they soon 
moved forward each bore the flag of the Rising Sun, as did the 
men and the planes. 



Chapter II 

Havoc Over Hong Kong 



JL HAD an early breakfast this Monday morning, December 
8, for I had a great deal to do before my evening's departure 
for Chungking. I didn't really want to leave Hong Kong, be- 
cause of its beauty, the friends I had made there; and because 
some web of information inside of me was telling me that now 
was no rime to go. Stuart had had the same feeling when he left 
the day before. ..." What if something happens just after 
I sail, and I'm not here to see it after all these years of waiting 
for the story to break? " 

It is hard to explain what rouses such a feeling in a reporter's 
heart, but it bites deeper and deeper, like a rat gnawing through 
wooden walls, and it won't let you rest or think or sleep when 
it begins to work. 

Hurried as I was, I lingered over breakfast on the terrace, 
looking out across the shining bay, thinking about my months 
in the British Colony. Five* years before, I had had one of the 
happiest times of my life in this same place, filled with sun- 
silvered days and star-trimmed nights, with the music of the 
winds always singing faintly down from the peaks. 

Finally I hurried on my way to take an early hotel bus into 
Hong Kong. As I turned in my key at the desk, Miss Marjorie 
Matheson, die manager, asked me about my plans. 

" I expect to leave tonight, as I told you before." 

20 



JIAVOC OVER HONG KONG [ 21 

" Maybe the authorities won't let the planes go," she said. 

I looked at her in amazement " Don't scare me that way. 
Why shouldn't they go? " 

" Orders, perhaps," she replied. 

I guessed from the conversation that the military had de- 
cided to continue the maneuvers of the weeks before, and per- 
haps they were holding back the planes for some tactical rea- 
sons. 

As I went down the steps, I met Mr. W. L. Bond, manager 
of CNAC, whose planes went to Chungking. " How do you 
feel now? " he asked. 

" Excited about tonight, of course," I answered, and won- 
dered why he looked at me so queerly. I decided he thought 
I had done enough flying around die world so that I shouldn't 
be concerned about this comparatively short hop into Free 
China. 

What I didn't know at the time, and they did, was what had 
happened some fifteen minutes before on the Kai-Tek Airport, 
when the CNAC planes were damaged, the clipper sunk, the 
airfield machine-gunned. I don't know why they didn't tell 
me too hurried, too perturbed, I suppose. 

I had my arms full of papers when I took the bus, for I was 
on my way to the British censor, who must approve every 
scrap of paper taken out of die colony, whether personal let- 
ters, clippings, writings, or films and negatives. 

As the bus hurried over the top of the hills, I saw soldiers 
digging trenches in some of the gardens of the villas. " Carry- 
ing these maneuvers quite far this time," I thought. " Some peo- 
ple are going to be pretty mad when they see their lovely 
"flower-beds all torn up." 

The harbor had never looked more beautiful than it did this 
morning as the bus topped the Peak and started downwards. I 
missed the huge white world-circling liners that used to an- 
chor there, but there were still coundess boats, sampans and 
junks, and picturesque sails. The hills were fragrant with 
orchid-like flowers that clung to die emerald trees like flutter- 



22 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

ing butterflies. The air was as exhilarating as nectar, and the 
sunlight as sparkling. 

As the bus passed through the Chinese section, I thought 
it seemed unusually quiet for this restless sector. There was 
no chattering, hurrying crowd, although the stores were still 
open, the pharmacies with their pickled embryos in the win- 
dows, shoe shops with huge green and red wooden clogs to 
advertise their wares, the chest-makers' rich with the scent of 
sandalwood, the cloth stores with their stacks of bolts of cardi- 
nal red and Peking blue. 

There were soldiers at every corner, so I judged my con- 
clusion was correct that maneuvers were to be continued an- 
other week. We arrived in the smug British section, with its 
proper shops, cricket clubs, and dignified government build- 
ings. More soldiers. Then 

A newspaper billboard: 

JAPAN IS AT WAR WITH HONG KONG! 

I could hardly believe it. The blood-dyed flag of war had 
actually been sent up to the mast. The Far East at long last had 
burst into deadly flames. 

We Ve talked war with the Japanese for years. We've partly 
prepared for it, at the same time that weVe sold them the 
materials with which to fight and kill us. We've said it was " in- 
evitable," but somehow reality is hard to grasp when it is so 
tremendous as actual war. 

War. War. What is it? You read of it, you shudder, you 
think you could not stand it if it came near you. Then sud- 
denly it is there, a ghostly skeleton specter that walks beside 
you every second of the day and night. It swings its blood- 
dripping scythe, and there is death all about you. War? It is 
your flag coining down and someone else's flag going up. It is 
crashing and violent and overwhelming. I went to see war 
through a woman's eyes, and I know now it looks'no different 
to a woman from what it does to a man; it is all terror, rape, 
horror, destruction and death . , . death . . . death. 



HAVOC OVER HONG KONG [ 23 

The first day of the war was filled with unreality. I heard 
the shriek of the air siren, dread crescendo warning that runs 
electric fingers up and down the spine. It says: " Run fast, mur- 
der is coming! Run fast, murder is coming! " up and down, 
over and over. 

I went to the street and looked up into the shining sky. 
There were planes high above. Suddenly from them would 
drop the winged black bombs, and almost as suddenly there 
would be death and disaster below. Tiny puffs of anti-aircraft 
fire would appear in the sky like dark periods, fading off into 
gray commas as the wind disintegrated them, and the sound 
of their explosion would reverberate in abrupt warning from 
the Peak. 

I knew this was no longer practice for war, but 'war. Yet 
who can believe that men can be so mad, that the world is sa 
filled with hate? Why did the Japanese want to kill the Chi- 
nese by the millions, and the British and Canadians and Aus- 
tralians and Americans and Dutch? Why? Why? Why? 

The first few days of the war were days of strange calm 
and stranger turmoil. It all seemed unbelievable, yet too vi- 
tally real. You would watch the Japanese planes drop bombs: 
and return to Canton for more, with a f eeling you were watch- 
ing a newsreel. Then you would search for places where the: 
missiles had fallen, and when you found them, and the masses, 
of flesh left behind, you were sick with the reality of it. 

I had wanted to be wherever war broke out. I was there. 
And I was overwhelmingly frightened. I felt horribly alone* 
and face to face with a startling fate that might have any ending.. 
There was no one to whom I could, turn; everyone was too 
stunned to think of anyone but himself . I had never felt sa 
lonely in my whole life as I did that first morning when I re- 
alized I was -in the midst of war and that I had to face it by 
myself, no matter what happened. 

I went to the Hong Kong Hotel with the papers I had beea 
taking to the British censor and checked them. I knew there 
was no need of going to the censor's office now. With them 



24 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

went the negatives of all the best pictures I had taken from 
Maine to Manila, from Paris to Palembang, and back again; 
the scrapbook that contained everything I had written in the 
last ten years; letters, notes, clippings; an invitation from Their 
Imperial Majesties King George and Queen Elizabeth to ap- 
pear at Buckingham Palace; copies of credentials from Cordell 
Hull, from newspapers; things I never saw again, but I sup- 
pose they were all burned by the Japanese when they took 
the city. 

My first task was to get proper credentials from the British 
Ministry of Information. These were in a little leather-cov- 
ered book with my picture on one side, the seal of Great Brit- 
ain on the other, and read: " Permitted to enter all authorized 
military zones." And with this I started my official hunt for 
war. 

At this point let me sketch briefly the geographical aspects 
of this battlefield-to-be. Hong Kong is an island whose capital 
is Victoria, British-owned for 101 years, the sixteenth port of 
the world, ten and a half miles long. It housed 1,200,000 peo- 
ple, not counting the 300,000 Chinese refugees who had fled 
there since 1937 before the approaching Japanese for protec- 
tion under the British flag. Only 24,000 inhabitants were white. 

On the other side of the island were a small naval base at 
Aberdeen, a Chinese fishing village; the Repulse Bay section, 
where I lived; and miles of shaggy shoreline. 

Directly across from Hong Kong on the mainland was 
Kowloon, as much a part of the city as an arm is of the body, 
with the harbor only a quarter-mile wide at some places. A 
clock tower guarded the entrance, and was adjacent to the 
railway station, from which trains had left for Canton before 
the " Incident," but now they went only about twenty miles 
into the country. 

Near the ferry was the Peninsula Hotel, one of the largest 
of the city's hostels. Behind it were blocks of fascinating ships, 
and across from it a huge YMCA. An enterprising builder had 
erected a section of shops in Chinese style, called the Chung- 



HAVOC OVER HONG KONG L 2 5 

king Arcade, and in them were exquisite linens, sweaters, cu- 
rios, jewelry. The streets for blocks were arcaded, and one 
could shop for a mile without being in the open. Indian silk 
shops particularly thrived along these walks. 
The British had erected large model apartments for many 
of the Chinese, but in sections of old Kowloon Tong there 
was nothing to differentiate it from any dirty inland Chinese 
city. Other parts were very properly suburban British, with 
two- or three-story apartments, or dignified-looking houses 
behind stone walls. 

It had been only fifty years since the British had decided 
they needed some guard in front of their Hong Kong door- 
step, and had moved suddenly into the Chinese mainland. Al- 
most overnight they had taken this strip of mainland, about 
twenty-six miles deep, running back to the foothills and the 
mountains, and including countless litde old Chinese villages, 
and vegetable gardens where coolie women and carabaos car- 
ried on as they havelbrtathay for tens of thousands of years. 
There were over three hundred square miles in this section, 
called the " New Territories," leased to the British govern- 
ment by the Chinese in 1898. 

When I first came to Hong Kong I had not realized the 
Japanese were so dose only twenty-six miles away. That 
they had conquered territory so near the Empire's skirt hem 
seemed a little alarming to me, but none of the British seemed 
to worry about its potentialities. Their military had said they 
had worked out plans of defense that would always keep the 
conquering Japanese twenty-six miles away, and that was all 
that seemed necessary. 

The announcement by one general who came to the colony 
that Hong Kong could not be defended, and should never at- 
tempt defense, seemed the ill-advised conclusion of a man who 
could not know much about what he was talking. 

So preparations went on certain lines of defense,- certain 
plans of strategy. The last general who took command felt that 
the New Territories could hold out three months, and that 



2,6 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

then the troops could retreat to the fortress of Hong Kong 
and hold out indefinitely. The New Territories fell in four 
days; the fortress of Hong Kong in fourteen more. Hong Kong 
and its defenses crumbled like a child's mud house which has 
stood too long in the sun and is suddenly jarred, becoming 
nothing but a pile of dried-out grains of sand. 

This was not the fault of the people of the city. They be- 
lieved in their defenses, and they were willing to die for the 
Empire to prove it, and would have fought from house to 
house if it would have done any good. 

A new Governor General, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, ar- 
rived in the colony a few months before the war. He received 
the report of the Military High Command, and he believed 
it, I suppose. He had no reason not to. A new commander of 
the garrison, Major-General C M. Maltby, also arrived only 
a few months before the outbreak, and found awaiting him 
the report that the defenses were impenetrable; he had not had 
time to find out otherwise for himself. Or perhaps he could 
not give credence to what he found certainly the war made 
evident that Hong Kong was undefendable in its present state, 
and that somewhere there had been oiminal negligence. Part 
of the trouble was too many officials, too much social routine, 
too much white tie. I understand that at present Parliament 
has decided to drop investigation of Hong Kong's fall, but I 
imagine, and hope, that some day someone will have to an- 
swer difficult questions and try to explain unexplainable causes 
and effects. 

So between those who should have known better, there was 
too much talk, and not enough trench-digging, air-defense 
preparations, troops, or thought given to primary and vital 
problems of food, water, and light. Since government and 
military authorities exuded confidence, the people under them 
believed, for the most part, that they dwelt in an impenetrable 
fortress. 

The newspaper people didn't believe it. Some of the busi- 
nessmen who had seen too much official maneuvering and been 



HAVOC OVER HONG KONG [ 27 

choked by too much " tradition of the classes " didn't believe 
it. But they didn't dare express their views very openly, or 
they would have lost their positions in the colony, and home 
in England was a long way off . 

And the Japanese didn't believe it. One Nipponese officer 
bragged to a British officer whom he knew: " Hong Kong is 
a ripe plum we will shake from a rotten branch when we get 
ready." 

Maybe the British Intelligence and military did know that 
the Japanese had moved 50,000 men and equipment up to the 
borders of the New Territories, twenty-six miles from Hong 
Kong, and had them massed there by the night of December 7. 
How they could have avoided knowing is hard to conceive, 
for you just can't move so vast an army without betraying 
some sign. But if they knew, they seemed to do little about it. 
At any rate, it was much too late, years too late, at this point. 

So this morning there were only a comparatively few troops 
to move in pawn against those advancing men with their ma- 
chine guns and hand-grenades and well-thought-out plans. 
Thrown against them were men of the Middlesex, Royal Scots, 
Royal Navy, Rajputs, Gurkhas, the Royal Winnepeg Grena- 
diers and the Royal Rifles of Canada, the Hong Kong police, 
and the Hong Kong Volunteer Corps, made up of die busi- 
nessmen, clerks, lawyers, and doctors of the city, between 
10,000 and 15,000 in all. The Canadians had been in Hong 
Kong only a few short weeks. They were unfamiliar with the 
terrain, they were mostly green troops, but they were brave 
lads. And diey died by the thousands within the next few 
weeks. 

In Hong Kong we could hear the echoing boom of the guns 
far away in the New Territories, and we knew that it was 
face-to-face fighting back in those rocky hills. The large guns 
in the city began to answer die challenge, and we got our first 
taste of the sound of big-time war. 

I got my first sight of it when I went to take pictures and 
saw what remained of die Chinese market, where 800 Chinese 



28 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

had been killed in the first few minutes of war masses of 
stone and steel, masses of flesh and blood. 

I saw it too in a small boy sitting on a curb, his insides 
tumbling onto the sidewalk, still holding the hand of his young 
mother, who lay beside him, but her breasts had been blown 
away and part of her head. 

Pearl Harbor was separated from Japan by 2,800 miles 
of ocean. Only twenty-six miles stood between Hong Kong 
and Japanese-held territory. Bitter facts. 

The threads which I had been knitting together were now 
revealing their pattern: Ambassador Nomura passing through 
Honolulu with his cunning words: " I am not being sent to 
Washington to talk of war, but to think of peace "; a Japan 
sacrificing everything to the hungry jaws of a military ma- 
chine; a nervous Shanghai surrounded by 150,000 Japanese 
troops; Kurusu rushing through Hong Kong on his way to 
Washington, on a clipper held specially for him by the United 
States government, because unless he made that one " it might 
be too late," his government warned, thus succeeding in de- 
laying activities for a few more -short weeks until Nippon 
reached the exact second she wanted to strike. Until the troops 
had moved up to Hong Kong's border; until submarines and 
ships and planes reached the Hawaiian Islands. 

Now the pattern stood clear in Japan's coat of many colors, 
deceptively woven to cover the world with horror, destruc- 
tion, death. 



Chapter III 

The Curtain Goes Up 



&OMEWHERE behind the curtain of distance, then, the 
Japanese and the British were fighting. We could hear them, 
but we could not see them. There was no waiting in Hong 
Kong for the battle to begin, however. From the first hour the 
war was with us, and we were the human targets on the physi- 
cal fortress upon which our enemies were firing. 

War came to us with rough giant fingers which shook our 
lives out on bloody streets, and tore our hearts and minds to 
shreds with ruthless disregard of all the humanities. 

All during the first day there were air raids. It was amazing 
how quickly the Chinese became used to disappearing into the 
tunnels when the sirens wailed their up-and-down song of 
danger. The streets would be filled with multitudes, and al- 
most simultaneously with the siren would come the sound of 
Jap planes, and the streets would be cleared as though swept 
by a huge vacuum cleaner. 

There was a feeling of panic that first day, although there 
was no show of panic. But actual war had descended so quickly, 
without die least bit of rumor to the vast majority of people 
that it was about to begin, that realization was all too difficult. 
It was a huge and unpalatable portion that we could not im- 
mediately cram down our throats. 

However, the civilian defense of Hong Kong swung quickly 
into action. Air-raid wardens went to their posts and stuck 

29 



30 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

to them throughout the war. Street patrols kept the streets 
clear during raids. Rice-distributing centers were set up at 
once to feed the hundred thousand Chinese who became de- 
pendent on British governmental help. 

Almost everyone wore a helmet, although I was never issued 
one, nor did I ever have one during the war. There weren't 
even enough for all civilian workers. Many carried gas masks. 
Everyone tried to get flashlights, but the stores were soon sold 
out. The prices jumped, and even then they could not be 
bought. I went to five shops looking for one and then gave up. 

Many stores boarded up their fronts, some closed and never 
reopened, but most were open for certain limited hours. Peo- 
ple tried to buy additional food supplies, but a clamp was soon 
put on this, and only an emergency amount could be pur- 
chased. 

The Food Control office immediately began to operate; it 
was their job to see that food went through to the various cen- 
ters, hospitals, air-raid and military posts. Tickets were issued 
to all civilian workers, telling them where and when they could 
eat; and die amount of food to be served at restaurants was 
specified. Remember, we were an island fortress, and although 
not cut OJ0F from the mainland as yet, that was undoubtedly 
ahead. 

There did not seem to be much creaking or groaning in the 
machinery of these civilian defense plans. The people of Hong 
Kong sprang to the defense of their city without hesitation 
and without murmur. The fault of the fall of the garrison lies 
not with its valiant residents, but with military and govern- 
mental plans made long before December 1941. 

One of the most precarious and gallant jobs of flying ever 
tackled can be credited to the American and Chinese CNAC 
pilots during the next two nights. The Chinese call CNAC the 
" Middle Kmgdom Space Machine Family," and this family 
can well be proud of all its Hong Kong children. 

After the Japanese planes peeled off at 4,000 feet to dive at 
the airport in that first attack which destroyed seven CNAC 



THE CURTAIN GOES UP [31 

Janes and the clipper, they came as low as 100 feet to machine- 
run the field. The hangar was burning, but some of the pilots 
mlled the remaining five planes out and, with tractors which 
hey had never driven before, dragged them from the field. 
^Vhen bus signs proved too low to allow the wings to pass, the 
ractors simply ran over them to flatten them down. The 
ships were hidden in the Chinese section during the day, by 
samouflaging them with mud and straw and pushing diem 
into vegetable patches. Fifty minutes after the first attack the 
] aps came back to pepper the field with eight bombs, so it was 
Lucky the planes were already away. 

The men who carried out these splendid flights and this 
work included Pilots Wood, Sharpe, Angle, Schuyler, Kess- 
ler, Scott, McDonald, De Kantozono, Moon Ching, and Hugh 
Chen, Communications man Price, Operations Manager 
Sharpe, Shop Superintendent Soldinski, and the Hong Kong 
clipper crew and its captain, Fred Ralph. 

The first pilot to take off was Frank Higgs, who flew 200 
miles inland over the Jap lines to Namyung. Sweet and Kess- 
ler followed at half-hour intervals. Soon afterwards those on 
the field^were panic-filled when the air-raid warning sounded, 
thinking a Jap bomber had sneaked in. Just before the British 
anti-aircraft opened up, the cabin lights of a plane flicked in 
the sky for a few seconds and were recognized as those of 
Pilot Higgs, completing the first 4oo-mile shuttle trip from 
Namyung. By four a.m. two more planes had returned, re- 
loaded, and started back. They were overloaded, and the take- 
offs were delicate feats of flying, made in total darkness, as 
were the landings. 

Manager Bond learned the British intended to blow up the 
field the next day, but he persuaded officials to leave a landing 
strip 300 feet wide so the planes could continue to operate. 
During Monday and Tuesday nights the planes flew out ^^s 
Chinese and Americans, including the family of Dr. Kung, 
China's Minister of Finance, and Madame Sun Yat-sen. 

One Chinese pilot, Hugh Chen, took out an eight-year-old 



32 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

plane with no radio. Half-way to Namyung its compass 
jammed, but resourceful Chen pulled out a ten-cent compass 
and flew on to Chungking " by the seat of his pants " (with- 
out instruments) . All the pilots in Free China were fighting to 
make the trip, each one wanting to make every perilous flight. 

I had a reservation on one of these planes for Monday night, 
but I don't know who got my place. Maybe Madame Sun 
Yat-sen. I saw Mr. Bond at the American dub on the day after 
war began, and on general principles asked if there was a 
place for me that night, but he said no, sorry, and good luck. 
He left that night for Chungking. 

The planes were to return the third night, but the British 
gave orders that no more ships were to come to the field. In 
Chungking, Manager Bond received permission through Brit- 
ain's Ambassador to China, Sir Archibald dark Kerr, to re- 
sume service, making two flights that night. Two pilots en 
route, McDonald and Higgs, received word by radio an hour 
out of Hong Kong, canceling the arrangements, with no rea- 
son given. That was CNACs last attempt to evacuate those 
caught in the " impenetrable fortress. 5 * 

Pan-American officials consider the feat of these pilots one 
of the most action-packed records of bravery and resourceful- 
ness in aviation's history equal to the flights of fighting 
pilots. Certainly it was an epic of the will to dare and do. 

I hardly knew where to turn that first day. I went to the 
lobby of the Hong Kong Hotel and found it filled with a 
nervous milling crowd. Connecting it with the Gloucester 
Hotel was an arcade, and hundreds of Chinese had already 
moved into this with their mothers, fathers, children, grand- 
parents, and rice bowls. Many did not move out until the war 
ended, except as the sanitation squad ousted diem for a few 
hours each morning ta disinfect and clean the place. These 
two hotels were supposed to be among die most strongly con- 
structed buildings in Hong Kong, and thus were considered as 
safe as an air-raid shelter. 

In fact, one of the directors of the Gloucester Building told 



THE CURTAIN GOES UP [33 

me that after its construction the directors in England had 
demanded an explanation of the great cost. An inquiry fol- 
lowed, during which it was discovered that seventy times more 
steel had been used in it than had been specified! 

Later I went to the American Club, and here was gathered 
a rather sick-looking group of people. They all sat looking into 
space, dunking of their families at home and what it means to 
be completely cut off from America when war crashes down. 
Some of them looked rather green, and I wondered what color 
fear is when it comes to the surface of the skin. I even won- 
dered what shade my skin had turned. But by the next day 
every American around the club had jumped into some sort of 
war work, and from then on did everything he could to be 
of service in the defense of the city. 

The terrace of the American Club became my watching- 
post. The club was in the Shanghai and Hong Kong Bank 
Building, the city's finest and highest, a smart modernistic- 
looking edifice facing the waterfront, but separated from it 
by a block of green park. The terrace ran on three sides, so 
from it one could look across the water toward Kowloon, up 
and down the harbor, down on the city, and up toward the 
Peak. From here I took my first pictures of the Japanese planes 
coming over, and of the white puffs of anti-aircraft fire, 
which always seemed just to miss. We never saw the British 
fire bring down a plane, although several hits were reported. 
There were no British planes to send up. 

I called on George Baxter at the UP office, but he was busy 
typing and trying to find out what was happening back in the 
New Territories. The office boy was hurriedly putting up 
adhesive strips, back and forth across the big front platen-glass 
window, until it looked like an elegant spider web, and I stuck 
on a few, too, just to try to feel usefuL 

A few days later a bomb hit this building, die South China 
Morning Post Building, and it went down, through several 
floors. The newspaper people in various offices went on work- 
ing and basely took time to see what damage had been done. 



34 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

The day passed with the Jap planes coming and going, the 
air raids, die shelling. It seemed a year long, and everyone was 
mentally exhausted when darkness came. 

I went back to Repulse Bay once in that first week for the 
only time until kte in the war. I wanted to get most of my 
camera equipment into the city where I could have it available 
at a minute's notice. The bus crawled back in absolute black- 
out, and it was an eerie experience sneaking round those high 
curving roads without even one speck of light. I knew there 
were deep drops over cliffs in some pkces, and a few inches' 
difference would mean disaster. But those Chinese bus-drivers 
seemed to see like cats in the dark, and although we went 
slowly, we went surely. 

A world seemed to separate me from the feeling with which 
I had left the hotel in the morning. Gone were the sunlight and 
the happiness. Now there was only blackness and war. The 
hotel itself did nothing to alleviate this feeling, for it, too, was 
bkcked out, and over every window was a thick black-out 
curtain. The huge dining-room was full of shadows, and silent 
people ate quickly and vanished to their rooms. 

My room looked desokte also, for everything was packed, 
ready for my planned departure that night. I had sent one bag 
with Stuart to leave with Esther Steele in Singapore, full of 
tropical clothes. Then there was a bag to take to Chungking, 
with warm winter things, medicines, and vital supplies. And the 
rest of my trunks and bags, nine in number, were ready to be 
shipped to Manila to await me after my swing around the Far 
East, filled with clothes, jewelry, and treasures I had been 
gathering to take back to America. 

I did not unpack any of them, but only pulled out the wool 
skck suit I had had tailored to use in taking pictures in the 
interior of China, with big pockets to hold films and filters. 
When I put it on in the morning I could hardly know that I 
was to wear nothing else for the next four months, and that 
it was to see me through war and capture and captivity. 

It was another lovely sun-filled day as Nature created it 



THE CURTAIN GOES UP [ 35 

when the bus left for the city, but man was making of it a thing 
of terror. We had to wait in front of the hoteFuntil an air raid 
was over in Hong Kong, and we could hear the faint echo of 
sirens saying " all clear " as we made a hurried departure. No 
more music of the winds from the peaks, as in other days 
only the wail of death. 

The bus did not take the regular route into town, as that 
was already a military sector. We w;ent through Aberdeen and 
into a crowded Chinese section, and our driver was racing to 
get us to the Hong Kong Hotel before another air raid came. 
But the siren sounded, and we all climbed out of the bus to 
look for shelter. I had a heavy camera case filled with films, 
flash bulbs, an extra camera, and equipment, as well as two 
cameras slung over my shoulder. I was loaded down, and must 
have looked it, for a very nice gentleman's voice said as we 
jumped out: " Here, let me help you with those." I turned over 
the heavy case, and we all lined up against a walL 

A Chinese woman with gentle mien opened the door of the 
apartment house against which we were standing. " Come in 
here," she said, and we all gladly complied, 

"Fm George Dankwerth of the Marsman Company in 
Manila," the man with my case said, and this introduced me 
to someone who was to take part in many of the experiences 
that followed. 

Chinese women with babies strapped to their backs were 
hurrying down to the basement, and black-eyed children with 
wondering expressions clung to their skirts and followed after. 

We looked out through the grille at the glimpse of sky. 

" They are still a long way off," a sweet-looking woman in 
a brown suit remarked. There seemed to be something authori- 
tative and comforting in her voice, and we looked at her witt^ 
interest. 

"My name is Mrs. Williams, and I have just come, from 
Chungking. We know quite a litde about Jap raids there, you 
know." She smiled. It suddenly gave us a feeling of confidence 
to have her with us, because we all felt like such amateurs at 



36 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

this war business, and here was one who had been through 
the hell of Chungking raids and could find this one only a 
momentary annoyance. 

I was to find that it was to this same Mrs. Williams I had 
messages from friends in the British Embassy in Shanghai, 
which I was supposed to relay in Chungking, but I delivered 
them now instead. Mrs. Williams had brought her husband, 
who was seriously ill, from the Embassy in the Chinese capital 
for treatment in the English hospital. He died during the war, 
and I was not to see her again until aboard the repatriation ship, 
headed toward America, seven months later. 

The sirens announced that all was clear, and we went on, 
but only for a few blocks before that banshee scream told us 
the Jap planes were back again. This time we were in a tene- 
ment section, with narrow wooden houses, a perfect fire trap 
if a bomb hit. We hardly knew where to go when we alighted 
from the bus this time, and stood rather helplessly on the side- 
walk, from which the Chinese were rapidly vanishing. 

Across the street a door slid open, and a smiling Chinese 
man beckoned to us. Inside was a tiny tailoring shop, appar- 
ently devoted to making lingerie, for there were little old 
ladies making bows, young men cutting sheer silk, and slim 
girls sewing fine seams. They beckoned us to take stools they 
produced from the back of the dark shop, and went on with 
their work, smiling shyly at us now and then. Two who joined 
us were Baron and Baroness Guillaume, whom I had seen on 
the hotel terrace. He was Belgian Ambassador to China, and 
had been en route to Peking from Chungking. 

I stood in the doorway part of the time, looking up at the 
vast sky, where planes of the Rising Sun were flying, dropping 
bkck darts of death. They seemed far away, yet we could 
hear their motors and could see their loads being dropped on 
the innocents below. British anti-aircraft guns were striving 
to bring them down, and we could hear the boom of their fire. 

When the siren again released us, we left the shelter of the 
little shop with the feeling of a strange interlude. We all 



THE CURTAIN GOES UP [37 

bowed, for although our languages were different, we knew 
we were grateful that the Jap bombs had not found us that 
time, and for a little while more, at least, we were free to go 
on living. 

Everyone in Hong Kong seemed to have taken hold of him- 
self overnight, and there was a resolute air of tightness that 
was reassuring. Americans joined food transport corps, drove 
trucks and ambulances wherever needed, volunteered in the 
food-rationing divisions, went off to join air-raid precaution 
corps. 

A great number of the British men belonged to the Hong 
Kong Volunteer Corps, and they had already vanished into 
the New Territories. Men and women in helmets, and with 
identifying armbands, came and went through the hotel lobby, 
intent on their tasks. 

In Shanghai I had met Judge N. F. AUman, an American, 
who was an ardent horseman and polo-player, an enthusiastic 
newspaperman on the side, who had done a great deal of 
refugee work in that city. He was caught in Hong Kong, and 
when I saw him I stopped to talk. He had quickly secured 
permission to organize a camp for the Chinese refugees who 
were pouring into Kowloon from the New Territories before 
the advancing Japs, and whose homes were being bombed in 
Kowloon. The location was bad, directly in back of Stone- 
cutter's Island, where there were gun emplacements, and 
which the Japanese were beginning to shell. However, the 
judge proceeded immediately to get the place ready for ten 
thousand refugees and to make plans to keep the camp going 
throughout the war. 

It was already hard to cross to Kowloon, and one could not 
go without special passes. A plan had been worked out to 
billet all Europeans from there in Hong Kong if it was ever 
necessary, and a few people were now going to houses on the 
Peak and throughout the city, according to plan. But the vast 
majority of Kowloon residents remained in their homes, which 
proved a bad mistake a few days later. 



38 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

We heard that the fighting was not going so well for the 
British back in die New Territories, but this did not seem pos- 
sible. I was having a sandwich in the crowded lobby of the 
Hong Kong Hotel in the evening when I noticed two ex- 
hausted young men in uniform talking to the manager. He 
went away, and I began a conversation with them. 

" You've been out there in the New Territories? " I asked, 
and they nodded. " What do you see? " 

"Fighting." 

" But can't you tell me just a little more about it? " 

" Sure. We see those Japs coming with machine guns and 
hand-grenades. We mow them down, but they keep coming." 

" They're little devils," the other lad added. " But no matter 
how many are killed, they keep on coming, throwing hand- 
grenades. We kill them, they keep on coming," he almost 
shouted. 

Those words could almost be the text of the whole Battle 
of Hong Kong and war in the Far East: " No matter how many 
are killed, they keep on coming" 

" What are you doing here? " I questioned. 

" Our men have been two hard days without food, and 
we came over to go from hotel to hotel to see if we couldn't 
get some bread or meat." There, too, is part of the text of the 
failure in Hong Kong: the breakdown of military transpor- 
tation and supply. All through the war we heard this time and 
time again soldiers who went for days without food, and 
then got so hungry they would go on desperate errands to find 
something to eat for themselves and their friends. 

These two lads were in the police force. One of them was 
Sergeant Hugh Dingsdale. I was to see him often throughout 
the following weeks, and he tried his best to help me on numer- 
ous occasions. 

I was trying to sleep on a chair in the lounge later that night 
when a man said to me: " 1 have a suite of rooms here. Why 
don't you use one of them? " 



THE CURTAIN GOES UP [39 

That probably sounds extraordinary to you at home under 
peace conditions, but they were welcome words to me at that 
time. Your perspective changes entirely when life and death 
are the only values that remain constant throughout the hours. 
I still do not know this man's name, but I remember his offer 
with gratitude. 

I could not relax into sleep, for I had seen many horrible 
things that day, and finally at two in the morning I decided to 
go for a walk to see if I could shake some of tie nerves out 
of my skin. The corridors of the hotel were filled with sleepers 
stretched out on the stone floor for the night, and in the ar- 
cade it was almost impossible in the darkness to find a path- 
way through the Chinese bodies. A few children whimpered 
wearily as I passed, and others groaned in their sleep. 

It was a night of exquisite beauty, for the moon was high 
and perfect, perfect for bombing as well as beauty and it 
was trying its best to paint every building with silver, leaving 
only a few hidden shadows. The streets were silent and 
marched off toward the hill in straight long lines. I went to 
the waterfront, where I could see the masts of the ships al- 
ready partly sunk, and the boom of small boats which the 
British had arranged in the harbor. 

I looked up toward the Peak, and remembered the moon- 
lights I had watched all over the world for I love moon- 
glow and deep night hours. I thought of many of those 
scenes ... the Detroit River from my apartment window, 
looking across Belle Isle toward Canada; New York like a 
twinkling movie set from the Rainbow Room; Paris from the 
top of Montmartre; the Colosseum in Rome; the Temple of 
Heaven in Peking; the Taj Mahal in India; the Bund in Shang- 
hai from the Cathay Towers; die Palace in Stockholm from the 
terrace of the Grand Hotel; the Embankment in London; the 
surf at Waildki; the temples of Bali. They all rose before me in 
a mist this night, and all seemed far away, dream visions from 
another life. 



40 ] PRISONER OF TH^ .r ^ 

I looked across the harbor toward I* 1 on, dark with the 
black-out. But there were a few ^x h i T somewhere and 
their red shadows reflected waveiiug' the heavens. 

Suddenly my heart stood still, for thwre came the sound of 
the first big shells. To me there is nothing so terrifying as this 
mad screaming, tearing sound. God grant that most of you will 
never have to hear this shriek of death, for it tears your mind 
and your heart and your soul to quivering bits. Somewhere 
in the night the Japanese had moved up their big guns, and 
Hong Kong was now within die range of the shells that tore 
toward their targets in the hills behind the city. 

You are told that when you hear these shells you are safe, 
for they are then thousands of yards beyond but somehow 
you never feel quite sure of this. At least I never did. I got so 
I didn't jump, but they always made my heart stand still for 
a few seconds. 

The night with all its beauty became a bitter thing, and I 
looked again toward the shadows of the mountains in the New 
Territories and wondered what terror was creeping toward 
us through the hours . . . and I thought I heard the cry of 
men who were dying by the thousands. I could only have 
created the sound in my own mind, for I could not in any way 
conceive of the actual horror and the shocking slaughter that 
the night was bringing to the men defending this last outpost 
of the British Empire. 



Terror in the Town 



We 



OUNDED soldiers began to arrive in Hong Kong, 
the first torn shreds of men who had faced the Japanese in 
the hills back of Kowloon. They, too, told stories of deter- 
mined little Japs who threw hand-grenades at them and ran; 
of others with machine guns, and as they advanced and fell, 
more moved in to take up the guns and the firing; of the in- 
credible ease with which the Nipponese made their way over 
the stiff mountainous terrain. 

Again we heard that the British were retreating, and that 
the Japs had broken through the first lines of defense manned 
by one of the finest of the British regiments. That couldn't be 
true, could it? The New Territories could hold at least three 
months, and it was now only the third day of the war. 

But the sounds of the guns were drawing closer, and the 
wounded men were more numerous. We could not, or per- 
haps would not, accept the significance of all this. 

Returning officers said that the Japs were filtering through 
defense positions in small groups and sniping from vantage 
points on various sides. Traitorous Chinese guided picked 
patrols of Japs through the hills they knew so well, making it 
possible for them to attack from the rear the pillboxes the 
British had built so carefully. It was reported that the enemy 
were dropping hand-grenades down the ventilating pipes, 



42 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

which if built crooked instead of straight, would have made 
this butchery impossible. 

In Kowloon there was evidence that the Chinese believed 
the Japanese were nearing. Mad mobs of looters began to oper- 
ate, moving systematically from house to house like locust 
scourges, leaving nothing but ruin in their trail. Anything 
they did not want they threw out of the window or destroyed. 
They broke windows, chopped up grand pianos, took food, 
bathtubs, clothes, money, and valuables. 

They stripped Chinese girls on the street as they grabbed 
their pocketbooks and searched them for hidden money. They 
stormed the cars of Europeans, and men who had worked with 
the Chinese for twenty years and loved them had to drive 
through the mobs at tremendous speed to save their own wives 
and children. 

By Thursday Kowloon was an open town as far as the 
Chinese looters were concerned. They worked in organized 
gangs and demanded protection money from even small house- 
holders. 

It was almost impossible to cross from the island to the main- 
land, but my Ministry of Information pass let me through. I 
watched one crazy mob sweep down a street, in and out of 
houses, taking and destroying as they went. I took pictures 
of these crazy men with their shining axes and long staves; al- 
though there were only twenty in this particular group, it 
looked like an entire army to me. As they roared toward me, 
I tbok my camera and tripod and ran like fury toward a main 
thoroughfare. 

Fires were burning in various places, and a curtain of deep 
drenching smoke hung down over the city while wild flames 
threw .up beseeching arms. Guns -roared almost constantly, 
and the Jap planes were continuously raiding. 

Europeans were beginning to run down the streets with 
bags, headed for the ferry and the Hong Kong side of the har- 
bor. Toward the end of the week this became almost a panic, 
for often as the Europeans and Americans went out of the 



TERROR IN THE TOWN [ 43 

front doors of their homes, the Japs came in the back. The 
police, under military order, abandoned Kowloon on Thurs- 
day, and frantic citizens running to the police stations found 
them empty and already looted by the Chinese. 

Since then the abandonment of Europeans in Kowloon 
without police or military protection has been the subject of 
much discussion and damning. Certainly the civilian popu- 
lation should have been warned that die Japs were near, and 
the plans which had been made for months for the evacuation 
to the island fortress should have been carried out with some 
semblance of order. The police said they were acting under 
military order, and the military refused to comment. In fact, 
to find a high officer was almost an impossible task, for they 
were all deep in the bowels of the island in steel and stone posi- 
tions and could not be reached for question or comment. 

I knew one police officer who reported to military head- 
quarters in Kowloon that the Japs were about to surround 
diem, and asked for orders. The military told him that as a 
part of the police he should know better than to get so ex- 
cited, that everything was under control, and his force meed 
have no fear the Japs were really at hand. 

When he called in half an hour to ask again for aid and to 
report the intense dangerousness of the situation, the head- 
quarters was closed and everyone there had moved to the 
mainland. 

Judge Allman told me that he spent Thursday collecting 
several tons of rice to feed die " dispersees " in his refugee 
camp, who were expected en masse on Friday. He arranged 
with a police of die Shamshuipo police station to place guards 
at die camp entrance, but the officer seemed very jittery. 

The two went to die edge of the camp, where they could 
watch the Japs shelling Stonecutter's Island. The missiles were 
falling in die water between them and die island, and for 
twenty minutes nearer them than the island. Then a Jap ob- 
servation plane flew over and corrected the range. Afterwards 
die shells continued to land on die island for half an hour. 



44 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Between eleven and twelve o'clock three relays of Jap 
bombers came over and bombed the wireless station from 
three thousand feet. Most of the bombs landed in the water, 
but several sticks landed between the radio masts. A group of 
three planes bombed the north end of the island about half 
past eleven, and were getting very close to where the English 
batteries were. The Jap bombers had better range than those 
who were shelling from the ground. 

The judge noticed there were no police guards around the 
camp entrance, as had been planned. He had been warned to 
watch for rice riots, and so he went to the Shamshuipo police 
station, but found crowds milling around the door. He pushed 
through, found no police, the station looted, and the phones 
out of order, so he returned to his camp. 

A military police lorry arrived at one p.m. with an order of 
three hundred blankets, so he took the truck and went to each 
police station to get protection for the camp. All were aban- 
doned, and being looted. As he zigzagged from station to 
station, Judge AHman picked up many European women and 
children standing on the streets hoping to be rescued, and took 
them to the ferry police station. Here he found hopeless con- 
fusion. 

The head of the waterfront police was much alarmed and 
was about to abandon his post, convinced that the Japs were 
near. The judge and the sergeant with him assured the police 
officer that they had been all over Kowloon and had not " seen 
a single damned Jap." A group of Middlesex soldiers from 
their post on Castle Peak, near Kowloon, reported the same. 

The waterfront head, however, said he had no one to send 
to guard the refugee camp, that already he had orders from 
Hong Kong to abandon Kowloon, and the last police launch 
was about to leave. There were about twenty prisoners in the 
jail, and the keys were missing, so the sergeant blew off the 
locks and released the prisoners. He also remembered that he 
ought to disable the wireless apparatus, and started to shoot 
at die aerial with a revolver, but this was finally accomplished 



TERROR IN THE TOWN [ 45 

by some police with rifles, which they did not seem to know 
how to handle very well. 

The soldiers and Judge Allman helped the remainder of the 
police load arms and ammunition on police tugs, because the 
soldiers had gone back to their posts. The police on board 
the tug insisted on loading their rifles, but did not seem sure of 
their handling of them. Their unfamiliarity with the Lee- 
Enfield was shocking and surprising to the judge. One lad 
seized a fixed gun on the prow and proceeded to load it. He 
had to be reminded that the prow davit was standing not four 
feet from the muzzle and, under the circumstances, was more 
dangerous than the Japs. 

" As a simple fact, the police were panicky, and the aban- 
donment was premature," the judge reported. 

There was no doubt that the citizens were not warned that 
Kowloon was about to be abandoned. I was on that side of the 
harbor late on Thursday, but only near the ferry. Here was 
utter confusion. Police arriving on motorcycles and in cars 
drove them off into the harbor, instead of taking them to the 
Hong Kong side, where they were needed. 

Soldiers were coming back in a state of complete exhaustion, 
with bloodshot eyes that had a dead look in them. Often they 
were hungry because the food-transport system had broken 
down. Sometimes their ammunition h,ad not caught up with 
them and they were hopeless in the face of the advancing Japs. 

On one of the kst overloaded ferries were many wounded 
soldiers. It was machine-gunned by low-flying Jap planes. 
One nurse went on with her work, dressing wounds and ad- 
ministering first aid. 

Suddenly someone noticed a spreading red blossom of blood 
on her uniform. " You are wounded," she was told. " You 
must stop. ' 

" I must go on," she replied, " and I am dying." 

Before the ferry landed on the other side of the harbor, she 
was dead. 

British nurses took die brunt of hard work in Hong Kong 



46 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

and faced much of the terrorism. They were left in advance 
posts, without military guard, and suffered hideously at Jap 
hands. But they never wavered and kept on with their tasks 
under impossible conditions. 

Brave deeds were as common as sunshine these days. Drivers 
of trucks and ambulances might have their conveyances struck 
by shells and still keep on driving. One of their helpers might 
be killed beside them, but on they went. They might have to 
drive around shell-holes and through hundreds of dead bodies, 
but they kept their heads and took the food through. These 
were volunteer men and women, British, American, Dutch, 
and Chinese, who had no training for this sort of thing, but 
who wanted to defend their homes and their countries. 

I spent Thursday night in the apartment of a friend near the 
center of the city. It was utterly dark as three of us pushed 
our way through the evil blackness up the steep hill, and we 
were stopped a number of times by sentries patrolling each 
block. We had hooded searchlights, but could only flick them 
on and off in case of emergency. 

I climbed into a bed for the first time since war had started. 
It seemed a great luxury, and I tried to concentrate on its de- 
lights instead of on the sounds of the big guns which shook 
the night. Apparently the Japs were after something in our 
neighborhood, for several times the shells hit dose, reverber- 
ating like thunder in the mountains. 

Suddenly hell seemed to burst open in the room, and some- 
thing bit through the air an inch above my head. There were 
shouts in the night, and the sounds of crashing glass and timber 
as the building shook like a live thing. 

I transformed myself into a Zephyr pkne and flew out of 
that room in no seconds at all. The other occupants of the 
apartment had the same idea, and as we fumbled our way down 
the stairs, more blanket-wrapped figures led the way into the 
basement. 

The apartment was built into the side of a hill, and the base- 
ment was far down in the rocks, so there was a warming feel- 



TERROR IN THE TOWN [ 47 

ing of safeness when we arrived. I hadn't even stopped to 
pick up a blanket, so I used my camera case for a pillow and 
stretched out on the cold cement floor. There were about 
fifteen of us in a narrow hallway, and everyone was excited 
and sure the building had been hit. A Chinese air-raid warden 
posted here was phoning in reports, but we could not under- 
stand him. 

In the morning we found that the building next door had 
had a direct hit, and it had been shell splinters that whizzed 
past my head into the wall. Some of the windows were broken 
with flying shrapnel, and a few yards in back of the apart- 
ment a shell had plowed its way into the hillside. 

The morning was bright and serene, and as the Chinese boy 
brought coffee on the terrace, overlooking the harbor, it was 
hard to believe the horror of the night. But we had not fin- 
ished coffee before the air-raid siren told us Jap planes were 
coming to say " Bad morning," and we could see them over- 
head. 

As soon as the raid was finished we started for the city, but 
we had gone only a few rods before the sirens began again. 
We finally ended our descent on a run, gkd that we had 
lived through the night. 

It was only Thursday of the first week of the war that the 
British were in full retreat from the mainland. The Japs had 
broken through their first line, thus making the British pull 
all the troops back to the second line of defense, and the Nip- 
ponese continued to advance. The returning soldiers told of 
little men with big guns who advanced with determination to 
take the land or die, crawling over their dead, and always 
making headway. The Japs infiltrated behind the lines of de- 
fense, smashed tie pillboxes, destroyed the gun emplacements, 
and killed the British soldiers. 

The Japanese finally made their entry into Kowloon 
thro^h an old abandoned Chinese road which die British 
seemed to have forgotten. They came two miles down a nullah 
covered with trees, entering into the heart of Kowloon before 



48 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

anyone was fully aware that tragedy had arrived that the 
British defense had crumbled, and that our enemy was now 
facing us across only a narrow strip of water. 

Roving bands of guerrillas and fifth-columnists sniped at 
the retreating British forces from alleys and roof-tops. The 
traitorous Wang Ching-wei Chinese took off their civilian 
clothes and stood in their true colors, the greenish uniform of 
Japan. The looters ran rampant throughout Kowloon. 

The official communiqu6 covering this entire debacle read 
this way: 

" At dusk last night the enemy attacked our troops who 
still remained on the mainland at DeviFs Peak. The Japs 'were 
decisively repulsed 'with heavy losses. They were unable to 
interrupt the 'withdrawal of our troops to the island. This 
withdrawal was consequently carried out without loss and 
must be accounted a local success. Our general position con- 
tinues satisfactory; await events calmly. The mainland has 
been successfully evacuated. The position has been stabilized 
within strong defense. The island of Hong Kong is now in 
condition of full siege" 

Retreat from the New Territories in mad confusion con- 
sidered a local success! Abandonment of the mainland, which 
had been supposed to hold three months, after four days of 
fighting, described as " our position continues satisfactory." 

This was confusing to the civilian population, who only 
knows what it sees, but there was one thing that was clearly 
evident to all and about which there could be no argument. 

We were indeed now an island fortress in condition of full 
siege! 



Chapter V 

Writing on the Wall 



were now a besieged fortress from which there was 
no escape. Japanese troops faced us, their planes were 
overhead, their navy watched us from the sea. Half a mile 
away across the harbor the Japs put up big guns to shell us 
and trained them on all the main objectives in Hong Kong. 
Wang Ching-wei Chinese had long before built emplacements 
for these heavy guns, and only walls had to be knocked out of 
buildings fronting the harbor so that the Japs could put up 
their machines. 

The harbor was a dying thing, filled with broken, scuttled 
ships and junks and ferries. On the other side of the island 
the Japanese navy was standing out to sea, now and then 
lobbing a few shells into Aberdeen, the navy base. We could 
not escape by sea, for the Japanese controlled it for miles in 
every direction. We could not go inland, for we were on an 
island, and the mainland was filled with Jap soldiers. 

The very geographical nature of Hong Kong gave me, 
and thousands of others, I know, a feeling of utter futility. 
We were day pigeons in a tiny shooting range. We were easy 
targets, and almost without defense, comparatively speaking. 
planes came and went as they cared to. How 



one wished for some American or RAF bombers to answer 
back that sky challenge! 



5O ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

From Hong Kong we could see the fibre of huge godowns in 
Kowloon, of an oH installation, of large buildings. Stories 
flew around of those who were left behind, of the looting, of 
dead soldiers and civilians. The Japs for their headquarters 
took possession of the Peninsula Hotel, which was easily seen 
from the Hong Kong side. 

On the fifth night of the war I tried to find sleep propped 
up in two chairs in someone's room at the Gloucester. An ex- 
plosion of terrific force knocked me on the floor. I thought 
the hotel itself had been bombed, for it seemed so loud and 
near. Then came the sound of machine guns spitting shots, 
quick, quick, quick, in the night, which meant that looters 
were trying to take advantage of the confusion outside, and 
that the British were keeping the streets clear of this horror, 
with the only possible means. Terror seemed to ride over the 
city, lashing at it with huge whips of fear. 

I was so nervous I could hardly sleep, and at early dawn 
I started out in search of pictures to make of the damage, and 
walked many blocks to find where the shells had hit. The hotel 
dock in the tower had been shattered, and plate-glass windows 
for many blocks had shivered into thousands of bits. The 
arcade between the two hotels was filled with broken glass, and 
many of the Chinese who had been sleeping there had been cut. 

But there was no sign of a direct hit, and soon I learned the 
tragic story. A small British boat had been ordered to trans- 
port four and a half tons of dynamite to one of the islands. 
The shore batteries had been ordered to keep the harbor clear 
from eleven to three a.m. for this purpose. The zero hour for 
the small boat was one o'clock. For some reason it was ready 
at midnight and started out with its load of death. 

The batteries blasted forth, and in a few seconds there was 
little left of the boat or the thirty-seven men aboard. 

The explosion had shaken Hong Kong as though a giant 
volcano had racked the entire city with terrific force. ^There 
was scarcely an unbroken window within the radius of a mile. 
I walked along the Bund taking pictures of the debris, and 



WRITING ON THE WALL [ 51 

glanced across at Kowloon to see what had happened to the 
enemy ramparts during the night. 

I saw a small boat detach itself from Kowloon and start 
hurrying toward Hong Kong, and a moving thing looked 
weird in the midst of the stagnant harbor. I thought some mad 
person was trying to escape from the Japanese. The British 
machine guns began to scold, but the boat continued onwards. 
I put the telephoto lens on my camera and could see on the 
bow of the craft a sign on a large white banner: " Peace 
Mission." 

I ran toward the pier where the boat was headed, but was 
stopped by a young British soldier with a bayonet. " You can't 
go up there," he stated. 

" I'm going," I replied. " Are you going to stick the bayonet 
through me? " 

He hesitated a second, then smiled and answered: " Til take 
you over to the officer in charge of the pier and let him decide 
whether I shall." 

Fortunately this officer approved my credentials, and I 
sighed when the bayonet point was removed. 

The boat docked, and down the pier came a strangely mixed 
party. There was a pregnant Russian woman, a British woman 
with two German dachshunds, and three Japanese officers, 
one of them carrying' a white banner. 

One builds up a strange complex about taking pictures of 
Japs. Perhaps you remember a few weeks ago a group of thirty 
marines in the Solomons respected a white flag hoisted by the 
Japs, and after approaching it, there were only two marines 
left to tell the story. While I was wondering whether a hand- 
grenade might be forthcoming if I took pictures, the Japs 
spied me. One called out. 

"Cameraman?" 

I nodded. 

" Don't you want to take our pictures? " I took many of 
them. 

"Wouldn't you like our names? * 



52 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Yes. 

" Colonel Tada of the Military Information," indicating a 
slender officer with a long sword; "Lieutenant Mizuno," 
pointing to a bespectacled stocky one with a large white flag; 
" I am Mr. Othsu," said the dark, heavy-set Japanese carrying 
a portfolio. The names were important, for they were making 
history. 

Only then did Mr. Othsu turn to the British wing com- 
mander. " Here is" a peace offer from our government. Please 
sent it to your Governor-General, Sir Mark Young." 

For a few minutes we stood, silent, looking at one another. 
We were in the middle of the British garrison, yet here were 
three Jap officers obviously demanding surrender. They were 
all smaller than I, and I'm five five. A cordon was flung around 
the block; and behind British soldiers with fixed bayonets, cu- 
rious onlookers surged. Someone tried to break through. TTiere 
were shots. 

In the meantime die Russian woman was sent in a car to the 
hospital to have her baby. I went over to talk to the British 
woman, who was resting on the base of a pillar. " What do you 
have to do with all this? " 

" I'm Mrs. C. R. Lee," she said. "Last night Japanese offi- 
cers came to my hotel by candlelight. They asked the women 
what our husbands did. Mine is secretary to the Colonial Sec- 
retary and so had the highest rank. They stated I was to be a 
hostage on a peace mission. I said I would come if the Russian 
woman could be brought to the hospital, and if my dogs, Otto 
and Mitzi, didn't have to be left behind. They promised this, 
and that I would have special consideration after surrender. 
The Japs seemed sure they would take Hong Kong soon, one 
way or another.'* 

She related how Japanese cameramen made them rehearse 
the departure many times before they took newsreels. I asked 
if she hadn't been frightened. 

"Not until our own machine guns began tb fire at us from 
Hong Kong. Somehow I hated to be killed by them/' 



WRITING ON THE WALL [ 53 

The Japanese weren't too pleased with my chat with Mrs. 
Lee, but they couldn't do anything about it. I finally returned 
to them. 

" What are the terms of the offer? " I asked. 

"Equable terms for both sides, and safe conduct for all 
. . ." Mr. Othsu was answering, but the British officer 
stopped him. 

" Let's leave the terms to the Governor." 

It all seemed an utterly fantastic situation. Shelling was go- 
ing on over us, and Jap planes were dropping bombs. There 
was even an air-raid warning as we waited on the dock. War 
was on, but here were three Japs in the heart of Hong Kong. 
Imagine Marshal Goring of Berlin free in the middle of Lon- 
don! 

Major Charles Boxer of the British Intelligence, who had 
been liaison between the British and Japanese on border prob- 
lems of the New Territories before the war, was sent by the 
Governor to take the messages back and forth. He shook hands 
with Mr. Othsu, obviously knowing him well. 

It was all very exciting, for I had a scoop of no mean pro- 
portions. In the ordinary course of events it would have meant 
a great deal, but I knew that now there was no way to send 
the pictures to America, and I had my doubts that the British 
censor would let the story out. (He didn't for several days.) 
Toward the end of the hours we waited, competent Vaughn 
Meisling of AP managed to get through the cordon. But I was 
the only one there from the beginning; I had unique pictures 
of the boat crossing the harbor, the arrival of the mission, and 
all steps through tie proceedings. 

I talked to Colonel Tada and Mr. Othsu, who did tie trans- 
lating. I felt sure Tada spoke English, although he spoke only 
Japanese now, and later found this was true. 

From Tokyo? "I asked. 

" All of us," Mr. Othsu answered. 

" I have beenthere," I said. According to Oriental custom, 
I asked next about families. 



54 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

" Colonel Tada has a wife and three daughters. Lieutenant 
Mizuno is a bachelor. Have you children, Mizuno? " Mr. 
Othsu turned to the young lieutenant with a grin. " I am also 
unmarried." 

Chinese and British soldiers stood guard on either side. The 
British flag flew above the pier, high above the white flag held 
by the Japanese. I could see a group of Americans on the ter- 
race of the American Club far above us, watching the his- 
toric meeting. I felt secure. I did not realize none of us did 
how soon the role of conqueror would fall to these same Jap- 
anese. 

" Is it true you have bombed Pearl Harbor? " I asked. 

Three pairs of eyes flashed recognition. 

" Yes. American aavy was mostly destroyed. Soon we will 
take Hong Kong." 

I didn't like their sureness. It made my heart shiver. 

A car raced up, bearing the British flag. Major Boxer took a 
document from his dispatch case as he approached the Japs. I 
caught but a few words from the Japs: " No firing until four. 
Then war will go on unless there is a further message from 
your government." 

The Japs stepped back and saluted Major Boxer, who re- 
turned the gesture. They bowed to me, saying: " Good-by." 
Mrs. Lee joined them, and slowly they walked back toward 
the litde boat with the big words: " Peace Mission." 

At four the guns began again. I knew war was going on to 
its bitter end. 

The official British communiqu6 on die peace offer stated: 
" It can now be revealed that the Japanese 'who came from 
Kowloon under cover of a white -flag brought a letter inquir- 
ing if His Excellency the Governor was 'willing to negotiate 
for surrender. His Excellency summarily rejected the pro- 
posal. This Colony is not only strong enough to resist all at- 
tempts at invasion, but all the resources of the British Empire, 
of the United States of America, and the Republic of China 
are behind us, and those who have sought peace can rest as- 



WRITING ON THE WALL [ 55 

ired that there 'will never be any surrender to the Japanese." 

As the boat departed, a good-looking young British police 
fficer, whose name was Wright-Nooth, I believe, arrested 
leisling and me and took us to the police station. There we 
resented our credentials to a higher officer, Thompson, who 
iter was one of the first to escape from our concentration 
amp. We were not held at all, and I was allowed to take my 
1ms with me. It was a matter of routine to check us. Later in 
amp I became better acquainted with the young officer who 
ad arrested us, and he gave me much authentic information 
bout the Battle of Hong Kong. 

I stood over a Chinese photographer while he developed my 
ictures, for I didn't want any extra copies made for sale on 
hie side. I took one to John Luke of the South China Morning 
*ost 9 and it was used on the front page the next morning. Out 
>f all the thousands of pictures I took, this was among the few 
managed to bring home because it was of Japanese, I sup- 
tose, and so the gendarmes thought it must be all right when 
hey gestapoed my luggage before departure. 

The day had yet more work for me to do, for late in the aft- 
ernoon a bomb made a direct hit on part of the Central Mar- 
cet on Queen's Road, and I went to see the sad remnants of 
vhat had been human beings and habitations. 

More bombs fell on Pottinger Street, a crowded Chinese 
horoughf are, filled with small shops and cubicle rooms, and 
scalloped out the centers of a number of buildings, leaving 
lame and flesh in its wake. I penetrated the police cordon, 
iround which a thousand starkly silent Chinese stood waiting 
:o learn whose daughter or son, mother or father, husband or 
erif e, had been killed. 

On the corner ky a mass of something which had been a 
man. I took a picture, not heartlessly, nor without thought of 
the smiling Chinese this had been but with the hopes I could 
show people in America what war means when it hits next to 
you. 

From the balcony of a tall thin red house men were trying to 



56 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

lower a shrieking man whose mouth was gone and whose foot 
hung by a shred of muscle. The rope which held him caught, 
and he swung back and forth, back and forth. A scarlet sunset 
was the backdrop against which he was silhouetted, and it made 
a perfect picture of a man hung on a scaffold, humanity being 
crucified at the order of Emperor Hirohito in this advanced 
year of civilisation, 1941. 

Yes, the Japanese were bringing the New Order of peace 
and prosperity to the Far East! 

la charge of the scene was Mr. Read, fire chief in Shanghai, 
caught in Hong Kong in passing, who had volunteered to do 
what he could in this emergency. He watched unhappily, for 
he knew that there were not enough men trained to do this 
kind of rescue work, nor the proper equipment for fighting 
this kind of disaster. The last time I saw him in concentration 
camp he told me he hoped he could come to the United States 
and become an American after the war is over. I hope so too, 
for we need his kind of bravery. 

Sergeant Dingsdale, the young man I had talked to in the ho- 
tel, was also trying to help in the ruins. 

The same stick of bombs also hit the police station and killed 
over fifty policemen. It hit the office where I had been, but 
Thompson, who had interviewed me, was not at his desk at 
the moment, and that saved his life. Later on I saw the building, 
so thoroughly gutted I do not see how anyone lived through 
the disaster. 

By the time dark came that night, I was thoroughly ex- 
hausted. I had been on my feet since dawn, had not sat down 
once, had not eaten, had hardly stopped walking. I had seen 
enough horror and mass death to last me for a lifetime, but the 
war had only just begun. My stomach was a writhing part of 
me, and my heart was sick with the reality of what messy 
smears living flesh can be reduced to. 

The next day I took pictures of block-long rice lines, and of 
a Chinese looter who was shot by the British police on a cor- 
ner by the Hong Kong Hotel. He was left lying there a com- 



WRITING ON THE WALL [ 57 

plete afternoon as a warning, and as I took the picture, passing 
Chinese looked at the criminal with hating black eyes. 

I stopped for a cup of tea in the Hong Kong Hotel lounge, 
and talked to H, H. H. Priestley, a charming Englishman in his 
fifties, whom I had met in the days before the war. He was a 
well-known executive in Hong Kong and knew much of the 
history of China. 

" Won't you join me? " he had called as I passed. " I'm feel- 
ing pretty low." He went on to tell me that this afternoon he 
had watched a godown across the harbor in Kowloon being 
set afire, in order to destroy things before the Japanese took 
the supplies. But in that godown were also all the furnishings 
of his home, and treasures he and Mrs. Priesdey had gathered 
in twenty years in China, including an especially fine collec- 
tion of ivories. " But Mrs. Priesdey is safe in Free China, so 
that is really the only thing which is important," he added. 

The next day he took charge of one of the central stations 
for rice-distribution, and I caught only glimpses of him 
throughout the rest of the war. After I arrived in our huge 
concentration camp I hardly recognized him, for he had lost 
sixty-five pounds in weight, because of the lack of food. 

It became obvious these days that the Jap guns had die range 
on all military objectives in Hong Kong. We could see the 
shells hit near die naval dockyards, radio masts, Government 
House and other government centers, military hospitals, gun 
emplacements, the power plant. It was evident the Japs were 
intent on taking the pkce as nearly intact as possible, but were 
getting each range accurately so they could open up to destroy 
the city if the time came when it could not be forced to sur- 
render otherwise. 

There could be no doubt that the Wang Ching-wei Chinese 
were active in the city. These men belonged to the Chinese 
who had sold out to the Jap-controlled puppet regime in Nan- 
king. When the guns were off range, signals would be flashed 
from near by, and almost immediately the range would be cor- 
rected. Several times I saw Chinese on the roofs of buildings sig- 



58 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

naling to the other side of the harbor, but by the time I could re- 
port them and someone could get to the spot, they would have 
disappeared among the million other Chinese of the city. The 
British police had 50,000 of these enemy Chinese listed on 
their books previous to the war and were well aware of their 
activities. I do not know why they were not all arrested and 
shot at the beginning of the hostilities. Democratic govern- 
ments have a difficult time becoming tough enough soon 
enough, in all-out wars. We have the same trouble in the 
United States. 

The British were beginning to fire on some of their own 
godowns on the other side of the harbor, but not thoroughly 
enough, for when surrender came, there was at least $100,000,- 
ooo worth of supplies left for the Japanese. When one of the 
large American oil firms was ready to abandon its Kowloon 
plant, it started to blow it up. It had all been made ready long 
before and was to be completely dynamited. But when the 
men in charge went for the detonators, they had curiously dis- 
appeared, and so this too went intact into Nipponese hands. 

From my watching-post on the terrace of the American 
Club I saw many things shells hitting Stonecutter's Island, 
boats in the harbor, the naval dockyards. Here there was a great 
hissing of steam as the boilers were emptied to avoid the hor- 
rors which would result if they were directly hit by the Jap 
guns. 

Once I saw a shell hit one wing of the house of Addison E. 
Southard, American Consul-General in Hong Kong. There 
was no doubt that the Japs had the range on this particular 
building, for the nexf day the other wing of the house was 
destroyed. Mr. Southard later said that the British had installed 
a radio telephone in his basement one evening, and the shelling 
began the next day. That is how quickly Jap spies got in their 
work. The Consul-General believes there is only one way to 
stop the Japs: " Kill them. There is no other way to keep them 
from advancing. Fve been through several wars, revolutions, 



WRITING ON THE WALL [ 59 

civil rebellions, and I've never seen anything worse than what 
happened in Hong Kong." 

The radio masts high on the Peak were the targets another 
time, and I could see the hits there. The big guns mounted 
here and on Mount Keller were dueling with the Japs, but the 
enemy seemed to have a dozen guns to every one of die British. 
The navy oil installation near Laichi Kok had been a roaring 
blast furnace for some time, with a thick black cap of smoke 
over it. Continual shelling had broken hundreds of windows, 
and the police broke all the other heavy plate-glass windows 
with hammers to keep down the danger of flying glass. The 
streets were full of debris and dead. 

The death wagons tried to keep up with the carnage, but 
that was impossible. Bodies twisted in fantastic shapes, or black- 
ened with smoke, lay mangled and torn throughout the city. 
Some were smutted against walls as blasts pasted them to the 
stones with red glue. 

Word came of the first American casualty, a young woman 
whose name was Miss Florence Webb, I believe, who was a 
governess in the household of Sir Robert Hotung. It gave all 
of us a queer feeling to realize that although this was a British 
colony, the Jap shells were looking for us just as much as for 
the Britishers. 

Shells were coming over at twenty-two-second intervals, 
and it seemed that die sky was continually filled with the 
dreary drone of Jap planes. One afternoon when the crash of 
shells seemed to crush out even the very air, I was instructed 
by men from Chungking to crouch in a corner in the corridor 
during one roaring raid, because a building is stronger there, 
owing to additional steel girders and pillars. This day the guns 
were beating a great tattoo on all the city, until your mind was 
weary with the throb of it. 

The Asiatic Petroleum installation was aflame on the main- 
land; here and there consigning fires marked the target of a 
shell. It was thought there was a big Jap gun in the dock tower 



60 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

near the ferry, so the British continued to blaze away at it, but 
by some freak of warfare it managed to stand throughout the 
hostilities. 

The looters and rioters got out of hand once, and tie police 
were overwhelmed for a time. -Finally by ordering everyone 
off the streets and by going forth with machine guns on trucks, 
they stopped the internal disaster. If any large part of the mil- 
lion Chinese population became inflamed, and panic spread 
like fire over burning oil, there would be little hope for the 
24,000 foreign inhabitants of the city. 

I think I realized about this time, quite by chance, that the 
Japanese were really going to capture us eventually. I knew 
we were surrounded, but hope is always stronger than despair, 
and our minds kept believing the news of the advancing Chi- 
nese army under Chiang Kai-shek's direction was true. Be- 
sides, one does not like to admit defeat, and that we were going 
to have to surrender to the Japs seemed incredible. 

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building, in which the 
American Club was located, was hit five times this day by 
shells. It was not much damaged, although the impacts swayed 
the edifice like a rocking cradle. Inside, the relief workers went 
on with their tasks, shifting their supplies out of danger even 
as the shelling was going on. The outside of the building was 
pockmarked, but it takes more than that to stop sturdy hearts. 

I had been on the streets taking shots of the Chinese vanish- 
ing into the air-raid tunnels, and when I reached the bank 
building I had to slide in past a guard at the back entrance. 
He shook his head disapprovingly at my being out during an 
air raid, but let me in nevertheless. 

The elevators had stopped running, so I started to climb up 
the back fire-emergency stairs. Ordinarily no one would ever 
use these, and it was only because of this unusual situation that 
I did. 

As I reached the floor on which some of the American gov- 
ernment offices were located, I smelled smoke. Naturally I 
tried to locate it, wondering if a shell had set fire to something. 



WRITING ON THE WALL [ 6l 

There was a small terrace outside a window on the stairway, 
and there an American government man was burning great 
stacks of official papers, emptying basket after basket onto the 
blaze. 

Suddenly I realized what this meant. The American govern- 
ment expected that Hong Kong was going to fall! 

I became sure of it when the official turned to me, saying: 
"Please don't tell anyone you happened to see this. It might 
start a panic." 

Yes, the writing was on the wall, for those who would see 
and who dared to read. Time was running short, and the Japa- 
nese were eventually going to win the Battle of Hong Kong. 
But much can happen in five seconds of any war, and we had 
to play out the siege until the bitter end. 



Chapter VI 

"The Japs Are Here!" 



-HE BARBARIC rhythm of war was repeated incessantly 
air-raid sirens, planes, dull detonations, screams, silence . . , 
roar of the big guns, shriek of the shells, crash of destruction, 
screams, silence. History was flicking her pages faster and faster 
each day. 

Our lives wove themselves into a pattern, with the knowl- 
edge that the thread of existence might be broken at any sec* 
ond. The fear in your heart was not that you might die, but 
that you might not die bravely. There was so much gallantry 
about us, so many men dying in a losing cause, without a mur- 
mur, with their eyes fixed on a horizon of tomorrow when 
governments would not send too little too kte. 

The hospitals were filling, were filled, with crumbled men. 
Many were not men, but boys who had hardly begun to live. 
One said to me: " You know, it's hard to die at nineteen. Life's 
so interesting, isn't it? I did so much want to live before I died." 

We on the sidelines had such a feeling of impotency that it 
choked in our throats like dried dust and made us curse poli- 
ticians, officials, and red tape that could create situations like 
Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, Corregidor, Pearl Harbor, and 
all those we jjpuld anticipate on the roaring road ahead of us. 
What good Sanocracy if imperial militarism could move more 
quickly, more effectively? We searched in our minds for the 

62 



" THE JAPS ARE HERE! " [ 63 

rotten holes in our fabric and would always come back in a cir- 
cle to official softness, both military and governmental. How 
else could we answer the fact that Hong Kong was going 
to be captured soon by a Japanese army, after Nippon had 
bragged to the world for years it would march when it was 
ready to take the Pacific, and we, Britain, America, and China, 
were not prepared to meet this boast? 

We could look at the skies and see the red-circled planes, 
some of them American, flown on American oil, with Ameri- 
can motors many made, in fact, in Japan, but in factories set 
up by American engineers and watch them drop snub-nosed 
bombs, made from scraps from our own backyards in America 
and England. We could pick up heads of shells and find them 
marked: " Made in England." We could know it was Dutch 
and English gas and rubber that were making those planes fly. 
For years I had begged in my work for China to stop the sale 
of scrap iron to Japan " But it is expedient," I was told " It 
gives us more time to prepare." 

We weren't preparing, we were busy appeasing. It's all right 
to appease, but, for heaven's sake, why not also get ready as 
fast as those who make no secret of intending to crush us? Pre- 
pare? Heaven help us! We still aren't prepared. Why couldn't 
we in England and America have prepared faster than Japan 
could and why didn't we realize that the extra time we were 
gaining also gave extra time to Japan? Don't one and one make 
two? Why did we have to wait until Nippon was ready to 
strike where she wanted, when she wanted, how she wanted? 

Sometimes in the rumbling nights a few of us would sit and 
try to make sense of the situation in which we found ourselves, 
and from which there was no out. Friends from the hospitals 
wouldjake off half an hour when it seemed impossible to g<^ 
on and tell of boys there, injured for life, who had run into 
parties of Japs with hand-grenades, while their own ammuni- 
tion would be gone; of lads who lost their wa^in the hills, 
against Jap soldiers with complete maps of every inch of the 
terrain. 



64 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Many of the hospitals were hit time and time again one of 
them 119 times but still the staff of nurses and doctors, many 
of them volunteers, some Americans, carried on. The hospitals 
were often hit because British gun emplacements were di- 
rectly in back of them, and sometimes guns were even mounted 
on their terraces. Thus they became legitimate military ob- 
jectives, and nowhere was there a place of peace where the 
wounded and the dying could be sent. 

We knew little word was getting to the outside world of 
our plight. The official communiques still said that " All was 
well," " Our position holds," " The enemy has made no ad- 
vajage," when many of us knew this was not true. I said to 
someone in die Ministry of Information one day: " For heav- 
en's sake, kid the people here in Hong Kong if you think that 
is^ecessary for morale, but let's let the world know what is 
happening, and perhaps help can be sent to us. If Hong Kong 
falls it will be a terrific shock to America and Britain, for you 
aren't letting us tell them the truth. Certainly we can't reveal 
anything to the Japs they don't know, so we won't be giving 
away vital information." 

But the correspondents were limited to sending out brief 
communiques dictated by officials. When the major news serv- 
ices received queries as to why more wasn't coming through, 
they would check with the cable offices and find that perhaps 
even the communiqu6s hadn't been sent out for days. When 
England complained there was a dearth of news from the 
Crown colony, reporters could only fight with the authorities 
to let them send more, and get nowhere. 

As I saw things closing in on us and heard the Japs had cut 
the regular cable channel, I sent two personal messages by 
wireless, one to my Aunt Sybil: " Cheerio all is weiy^jiad one 
to Mother and Dad: " Love." What more could one siy? I had 
written both in November telling them to remember that if 
war broke out and I was caught in it, I would be just where I 
wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do, and not to worry. 



" THE JAPS ARE HERE! ' . 65 

Yet I knew they would, and nothing I could do would prevent 
that. 

I felt sorry for the American and British men who had had 
to send their wives and families home several years before, for 
I knew what an immense sense of separation and hopelessness 
they must be experiencing now. They had stuck to their posts, 
and now they were being called upon to take part in warfare 
for which they were not prepared. 

The city was becoming a shaky shambles, and the Japs were 
smashing every force against us shells, bombs, fifth-colum- 
nists, fires, panic, planes, destruction, and death. 

I had not been back to Repulse Bay Hotel since the war J&e- 
gan, but I finally had to return, as my camera supplies ,^vere 
running out. The Eastman store had closed, and sealed its s^*ck, 
and I could not buy film anywhere. I did not look f orwarJsifr 
making the jaunt under the circumstances, but it had to be 
done. 

It was a bkck Stygian night when the bus left, and it was a 
strange journey we made. The Japs were bombing the gap 
roads during the daytime, trying to slice the island in two, so 
I had to wait until dark to make the trip. The bus had only one 
small light on the inside of the dashboard, and we crept si- 
lently along the curving roads. Every few hundred feet we 
were stopped by armed sentries, our passes would be exam- 
ined, the barbed-wire barricade would open, we would move 
through and hear it dropped quickly behind us. The trip usu- 
ally took half an hour, but this night it was two and a half 
hours before the bus crawled up the last hill to the dark shadow 
of the hotel. When the heavy curtains of the door dropped be- 
hind me, I entered into the strangest adventure of my life. 

The*orridors looked long and shadowy with their few dim 
lights, njpjt the black-out curtains shivered a bit from the whin- 
ing wind outside. My room seemed lonely and far away from 
the center of Aings in fact, it was about a quarter of a mile 
from the lobby, far out on the curving wing of the hotel 



66 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

In the morning sunlight, looking out of the window at the 
gleaming, opalescent sea, it was hard to remember that war 
was going on a few miles from us. But when I went to the 
lobby, I found a changed hotel from that which I had left just 
after the beginning of hostilities. Everywhere there were sol- 
diers Middlesex, Royal Scots, Canadians, and men from the 
Royal Navy and the " Wavy Navy." As days elapsed after the 
siege began, men en route from Aberdeen to Fort Stanley had 
stopped for food or rest, or perhaps because they lacked orders 
where they were to go, and almost overnight the hotel had be- 
come a garrison. There were from 100 to 300 soldiers there 
from this time on. 

As I was breakfasting on the terrace, there was a sudden stir, 
and a company of turbaned Indian soldiers came pushing a 
large gun up into the garden. They had just successfully se- 
cured it in pkce and were about to leave when another order 
came, and die heavy gun was moved away again. 

I decided to take one day to get some writing done, for I 
had had no time for that as yet. I wish I had the story I wrote 
that morning, for I know that I was filled with the agony of 
the battle. When the Japs came I hid it; perhaps some day I 
can get it again. 

We could hear the big guns at Fort Stanley, a few miles 
away, roar from time to time all during the day and night. 
From the back of the hotel we could watch die Jap planes fly 
over Hong Kong on the other side of die Peak, could see them 
drop their bombs, and follow the black smoke rising in sullen 
heavy clouds after their departure. 

I was surprised to find Richard Wilson of UP from Manila 
at this isolated hotel. He had come for a week-end jaunt to 
Hong Kong with Jan Marsman, die mining engineer f rpm the 
Philippines, and George Dankwerth of the same organization. 
I was gkd to see Dankwerth again, for he was always good 
company, and through him I met Mr. Marsman, called Hank, 
an energetic man who was active in die events of the following 
days. He was a Dutchman who had made a fortune in the Phil- 



"THE JAPS ARE HERE! " [ 67 

ippines in various enterprises mining, engineering, construc- 
tion. His company had been building many of the air-raid tun- 
nels in Hong Kong before the war, and he had come on an 
inspection tour. 

On the third night of the war, bombs fell on the entrance to 
the Metropole Hotel, across from the Hong Kong Hotel, 
where the trio were staying, and Marsman, Dankwerth, and 
Wilson had immediately moved to Repulse Bay for safety, 
since it was supposed to be the safest place on the island. 

The first night I was invited to have a sherry with Hugo 
Mladinich, also from Manila, head of Standard Brand Foods in 
part of the Far East, who was extremely worried about his 
wife, still in the Philippines; it had been impossible to get any 
exact word of what was happening there. (In fact, even at this 
writing, Hugo has had no direct word from her. He knows she 
is a prisoner at San Tomas in Manila, but how he is ever going 
to get her back to America is a problem. He was repatriated 
with the rest of us from Hong Kong.) 

All of the guests sat together in die lounge for a long time* 
that evening, thinking of that old adage: " Misery loves com- 
pany," I'm sure. Husbands of many of the women were fight- 
ing with the Volunteers somewhere on the island, including 
Mr. H. B. Wilmer, whose wife I had talked to many times 
before the war. He had fought at GaUipoli, but the fact that 
he had lived through that terrific battle did not seem to com- 
fort the elderly Mrs. Wilmer. 

The next morning I was waiting for a bus when I was told 
I might as well go back into the hotel, as the Japanese had suc- 
ceeded in bombing the gap road which separated us from Hong 
Kong and had virtually cut the island in two. We were now a 
separate unit, and on our own, as far as the city was concerned. 

I was horrified at being separated from the war, the worst 
tragedy that can happen to a reporter at a time like this, but I 
might as well not have worried for a second. It soon caught up 
with me, as well as all those who had retreated to Repulse Bay 
Hotel because they had felt it was so safe there. 



68 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

I had heard in town that some of the soldiers at the hotel had 
no supplies, and so I had bought the last toothbrushes in one of 
the stores, about three dozen, after quite an argument with the 
manager, who finally gave in when he learned they were for 
volunteer soldiers. I also bought soap, wash-cloths, and what 
small amount of tooth powder I could find. Some of the soap 
was in the form of children's bars, but no one was very par- 
ticular about details at this point, and I had fun turning the 
stuff over to the men. 

There were about forty Volunteers sleeping on the floor in 
what had previously been the ping-pong and card room, and 
they welcomed the toothbrushes particularly, because they had 
not had any for a week. Upstairs in another large room, which 
had been used as a lounge and for private parties, a hundred 
Chinese and Indian soldiers were living and sleeping. Many 
other soldiers slept on the floor of the main dining-room, 
which was a great long room across the front of the hotel. At 
night it was an extraordinary sight to see these tired soldiers 
lying on the floor with their guns beside them, trying to rest, 
while a few candles flickered in the far corners, for the elec- 
tricity was gone now. The Japs succeeded in storming the 
power plant at North Point on the 19th, and at eight o'clock 
the current was cut off. 

The second day after my arrival here Sergeant Dingsdale 
turned up on some duty. When I told him my dilemma he 
said he would get me back to town some way, and would come 
back with a helmet, gas mask, and flashlight for me, although 
these were almost impossible to secure by this time. 

It was not until we met in concentration camp several 
months later that I found out why Dingsdale didn't return. As 
an officer, he had been able to go back to the city through a 
military zone which wasn't open to the hotel bus or passenger 
cars. He commandeered a small Austin the next day and started 
out from Hong Kong to rescue me and return me to the war. 

Just after he left Aberdeen, machine guns began to bark at 



"THE JAPS ARE HERE! " [ 69 

him from two directions. He thought the British had mistaken 
him for some traitor trying to cross the lines. The fire got more 
intense, and he decided that it was better to turn around and 
live than try to rescue me and be killed on the way. His car 
was completely riddled, and when he got a little way back, he 
found out why: he had been caught between British and Jap- 
anese fire, for the Japanese had advanced that far, and no one 
in Hong Kong was aware of the fact. 

So I stayed on at the hotel That night there were no lights, 
of course, and I had never realized before just how much com- 
fort, in addition to convenience, there is in electricity. With- 
out it you feel helpless and know that in any emergency it 
would be extremely difficult to act quickly. In my room there 
was only a small candle that would not last long, so I did not 
dare to leave it burning. 

I tossed through the night, listening to the recurrent boom 
from Fort Stanley and finding comfort that these were British 
guns speaking forth. But I wondered also if it was because out 
in the night, over the waters, the watchers on the fort had seen 
Japanese boats trying to land troops on our side of the island. 

Just as I was ready to go down for breakfast the following 
bright morning, there was an imperative rap at the door. Out- 
side was a British officer. 

" Get down into the lobby at once. The Japs are here! " 

" The Japs are here! " Impossible! No, it couldn't be true. 
Your enemy never comes quite face to face with you, does he? 
Yet I was being told that we were within range of the Japs 
that the Japs were here. 

I walked slowly to the window for a last look out over the 
miles of harbor, up at the golden-tipped peaks, down alopg the 
curving white-silver beach I loved. "Dear God," I cried out 
in my heart as I looked downwards, " can what I see be true? " 
For walking along the road not far from my window were 
four Japanese officers, complete with white gloves and shining 
bayonets, looking up toward the hotel. No one was firing at 



70 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

diem, and they contemplated the scene for a minute before 
turning and walking back to die bend of the road. 

Yes, the Japs were here, and thus began the siege of Re- 
pulse Bay Hotel, one of the most fantastic battle scenes that 
war has ever created, and one of the most tragic pages in the 
history of the British Empire. 



Chapter VII 

Rising Curtain 



far as we had known, the Japs were still on the other 
side of the island. But no, they were here within our own 
garden walls. It was as though suddenly someone told you the 
Germans had set up guns in your front yard and were ready 
to machine-gun and murder you. We knew these Japanese 
would give no quarter, that they were here to kill us and to 
capture our hotel. How completely we were already sur- 
rounded we did not know as yet. 

In the lobby was gathered a stunned, silent crowd. It was a 
miniature League of Nations under siege, for here were peo- 
ple of almost every nationality and every stratum of life. TTiere 
were the Baron and Baroness Guillaume. There was a wealthy 
Chinese representative of T. V. Soong. And Mr. L. C. Arling- 
ton, eighty-three-year-old American writer who had lived in 
China sixty-seven years. 

There was Josephine Greenland and her small son, Derek, 
she German by birth, but Ally by choice, married to a Britisher 
who was still in northern China. She had been on an evacuation 
ship headed toward Australia, which had been devastatingly 
bombed in the harbor during the first days of the war, and 
from which, before it sank, everyone had been saved through 
the courage of the rescue workers. Derek was still nervous and 
tense from the experience, and now he was going to have to go 



72 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

through another harrowing one, but his mother kept calm at 
all times. 

There were American businessmen, most of them en route 
to Shanghai, whose ship had been stopped in Hong Kong. 
Among those who went through the siege besides those I've 
already mentioned were Titus Westbrook, George King, C. E. 
White, and L. L. Baker. Father Benson and Bishop O'Gara 
were with us the first part of the batde, but managed to get 
back to the Maryknoll Mission near by during the siege. The 
American women included Mrs. Andrew Shields, Mrs. V. I. G. 
Peterson, and nineteen-year-old Mrs. Jennie Dunnett and her 
infant son, Michael. She was married to a Britisher who was 
fighting in the Volunteers. He managed to get to the hotel sev- 
eral times to see her, but after surrender was sent to a military 
camp away from his family. Among the Englishmen who re- 
main in my mind for various friendly acts are T. A. Spedding, 
W. C. Gommersall, and H. Hobden. (I do hope I have their 
initials right.) 

There were so-called society women from their villas on 
the hills, who had fled to the hotel as the Japs had arrived. 
They had always lived in high luxury, with countless Chinese 
servants and splendid homes. Now they were about to be put 
through a grinding mill of which they didn't like the looks, and 
their mouths had prickly persimmons in them. 

There was an old Frenchman and a young Frenchwoman 
from Lido-China and her baby, large Chinese families, staid 
Britishers, and battling Irishmen. There were twelve nation- 
alities at a table where I served dinner one evening. We were 
now thrown full force into an extraordinary situation, and we 
were to take one another's measure in full during the follow- 
ing days of the siege. We were indeed a Grand Hotel come to 
life. 

It had been bad enough to be on an island under siege. Now 
the scene narrowed to a hotel under siege! 

The afternoon before, Hank Marsman had decided there 
should be some air-raid shelter arranged and had found a large 



RISING CURTAIN [ 73 

cement tunnel running under the hotel, from the hills down to 
the beach, which was used to cany off water during the over- 
flow periods. At some points there was thirty-five feet of dirt 
above it, so he considered it one of the safest tunnels in Hong 
Kong, which was a bit of luck. 

He called for volunteers to help make it serviceable, and a 
few men appeared to assist. Almost the entire Chinese staff had 
disappeared into the hills that morning, evidently aware that 
the Japs were near. Sandbags were filled to put before the en- 
trance, for if there is a direct hit near the opening of a tunnel, 
the concussion will smash people against the walls. 

I offered to help fill the bags, but guess I didn't look muscu- 
lar enough, for instead I was given the job of watchman, which 
meant only sitting and watching the supplies which had be- 
come so precious. We were afraid of Wang Qiing-wei sabo- 
teurs, some of whom had managed to become infiltered among 
the servants and soldiers. 

Some crude steps were erected down into the tunnel, then 
one had to climb around the bags, walk a narrow plank for a 
way, and scramble down to the floor. This was wet with a 
small stream of water, so boards were laid a bit above it. There 
was no electricity, so kerosene lamps were hung here and 
there, but they gave only enough light to cast jumpy shadows 
on the damp stone walls. 

Among the few members of the Chinese staff who remained 
were two small pages, the delight of guests in peace-time. They 
wore complete bellboy uniforms with marching rows of gold 
buttons and red hats cocked over their eyes, & la Philip Morris 
style, and their evident pride in, the array was wonderful to 
watch. They, too, came out into the garden and helped fill 
some of the sandbags. I took some pictures of them at work, 
with millionaire Marsman in his helmet, shoveling with spirit, 
and it was typical of the way last-minute preparations had to 
be made ia Hong Kong. Almost everyone was doing his best 

but it was too little, too kte. 

When we reached die lobby this morning, it seemed the 



74 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

sudden crashing news had wiped feeling from everyone's face 
with a giant eraser; faces were blank white pages. Orders were 
given that all women, children, and civilian men must go into 
the tunnel, so they would be out of the soldiers' way. 

In order to achieve the safety of the tunnel, you had to climb 
up on a window-sill, jump to die ground, run through the gar- 
den, and either climb down a ladder from the conservatory or 
go farther outside and down the improvised steps. Later, when 
the snipers held full sway in the hills above, with full view of 
the garden, this was a precarious journey that seemed miles 
long. 

It was a gloomy group that gathered in the tunnel that first 
morning. One had to sit on a cold stone ridge that ran 
along the side, with feet dangling down almost to the water. 
The fumes of the lamps hung heavy, although the cold air 
raced down through the length of the tube. Babies cried, chil- 
dren were restless, and the adults were cold and hungry. 

Above us we could hear sounds of activities, and from time 
to time a heavy blast would sear the air and rumble through 
the tunnel. Several times airplanes were heard overhead, fol- 
lowed by immense explosions which reverberated in our 
vacuum. 

When we were released at night, we learned the story of 
the day. The Japanese had come the night before, apparently 
an advance squad of twenty-four, and had set themselves up 
in the garage of the hotel. On the other side of this, not far 
down die road, was the mansion of Eu Tong-sen, which the 
British were using for troops and ammunition. 

Six men from die Royal Navy walked past the garage early 
in the morning, were captured, taken inside, and trussed up. 
Everyone in this entire sector was apparendy unaware the 
Japs had succeeded in making a landing on the other side of 
the island of such proportions that they could send men over 
die peaks and to the Repulse Bay section. Besides, the military 
had always figured that die Japs would only try to land here 
from boats, and their defense gun emplacements were arranged 



RISING CURTAIN [ 75 

for this. As usual, the Japs did things the hard way the sur- 
prise way and so the successful way. 

One of the first things the Japs did was commandeer a pass- 
ing coolie and send him to die hotel for beer and cigarettes. 
And that, incredible as it may seem, was the beginning of the 
siege of Repulse Bay Hotel! 

I have an idea this advance group was a suicide squad, sent 
to learn just how strong a garrison the hotel was, and to find 
out the type of guns and approximately how many soldiers 
were there. 

All during the day the British blasted away at the garage, fi- 
nally tailing twenty of the Japs. The other four spilled out of 
one of the windows and managed to get away into the hills. 
When the British soldiers went to the garage, they released the 
navy men, who I am sure had given up all hopes of living and 
must have thought this was the resurrection of the dead. One 
of the saddest deaths of the day was that of a navy officer, en- 
raged by the capture of his friends, who took a position in a 
window looking directly down into the garage. He insisted on 
taking great chances in firing his gun, and finally one of the 
Japanese machine-gun bullets hit him in the middle of the 
forehead. 

That night at dinner one of the navy officers showed me 
some binoculars he had taken from a Jap, and from him I 
learned something of the equipment of the enemy. Each Jap 
wore mountain-climbing shoes of soft felt, and carried regu- 
lar army shoes as well; although their uniforms were cheap, 
they were clean and practical. On their belts were small sacks 
carrying concentrated food rations which would last six days, 
and emergency medical kits. On their backs were strapped 
greenish helmets covered with net, in which could be stuck 
branches of trees and vines, for camouflaging. They also had 
detailed printed maps of Hong Kong and die entire island, 
made in Japan. 

Against these men, obviously trained mountain-climbers; 
with the correct equipment, were being sent British, Canadian, 



j6 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

and Indian soldiers with heavy army shoes, no concentrated 
rations, heavy rifles, and not enough ammunition. Most of the 
troops, particularly the Canadians, were utterly unfamiliar 
with the terrain, while it became evident that the Japs knew 
each nullah, ridge, path, and practically every tree or bush. 
They had been photographing this section for years and knew 
almost to the last stone what they would find on these hills. 

The explosions we had heard from the planes had been 
aimed at a small British gunboat, which had gone aground near 
an island a short distance in front of the hotel. We were able 
to count forty-seven times in the following days that planes 
tried to sink it, but they never did. The blue plumes of water 
would spurt high as turbulent geysers and fall harmlessly back 
into the bay. 

The boat had been involved in a fight to ward off a Jap land- 
ing in junks, and after having sunk several hundred it had been 
disabled and drifted aground. There was no one left on it, and 
it should have been a perfect target, but the Japs wasted a tre- 
mendous amount of explosive on it, which delighted us, and it 
just went on standing still. 

The next day as I was scooting across the garden to the 
mouth of the tunnel, Alex Zimmerman, a young Volunteer 
from Shanghai to whom I had talked in the hotel, was guarding 
the steps. He said: " If you want to see the Japs, just look up 
there." 

I glanced up, and not more than five hundred yards away a 
string of little soldiers were climbing up the hills to new po- 
sitions! I didn't stop to see if their objectives were effective, 
but vanished into the entrance like a gone-with-the-typhoon 



During the morning an officer came into the tunnel, saying: 
" I need volunteers for an extremely dangerous mission. Who 
will go? " 

Many men ducked their heads or did not seem to hear, but 
some answered very promptly. In the end three men went, 
W. G. M. Wilson of the Asiatic Petroleum Company, an Air- 



RISING CURTAIN [ 77 

Raid Precautions volunteer, D. A. Baker-Carr, and Victor 
Needa, a Eurasian jockey. Their task was to take a car from in 
front of die hotel, raked by constant fire, drive it half a mile 
under the snipers' aim, to near die Lido Beach dub, where a 
store of ammunition had been left. The troops in our impro- 
vised garrison had almost exhausted their supply, and unless 
this was brought up, a skughter of all in the hotel might result. 

The car left the hotel like a torpedo slashing toward its tar- 
get, took the dangerous curves on two wheels, braked to a 
screaming stop. With winged feet the men rushed to the stores, 
loaded them under constant fire, knowing that a direct hit 
would blow them to eternal oblivion, and whirled back to the 
hotel. That took guts. 

This same Mr. Wilson was one of the joys of the whole siege. 
He was always quiet and calm, always helpful, and there was 
never anything too small or too big for him to do. I saw him 
help mothers with children, assist die older people to the tun- 
nel, bring food down to those waiting there, although every 
crossing of the garden was life-endangering. He went once to 
my room for my cameras when it meant passing many win- 
dows at which die Jap snipers were aiming. He is a Canadian, 
I believe, and his wife is still a prisoner in the Philippines. 

The first day I very prompdy obeyed orders to go into the 
tunnel, for I felt I could help best by doing what I was told as 
quickly as possible and by keeping out of the way. But as the 
second day wore sullenly along, it seemed to me that a tunnel 
was no pkce in which to spend a war. I hadn't been in one be- 
fore I didn't like it now. There must be something useful I 
could do up above in the hotel. I didn't have children whom I 
must think of and care for, I wasn't old or sick, and I knew 
enough to keep out of the soldiers' way. 

One of the Volunteers came down on some errand, and I 
decided to follow him back. As he neared the top of the kdder, 
a bullet whizzed by, chiseling a small crimson path across the 
back of his neck and his hand on the top rung of die kdder. 
A hit an eighth of an inch deeper would have struck his spine, 



78 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

but luck dictated this should be only a surface wound. Til ad- 
mit I almost went right back down into the depths of the 
ground at this point! 

The hotel was a startling sight. At every window of the 
large place, which had hundreds of rooms, there was a British 
sniper. They sat on the floor, with their guns resting on the 
ledges, and watched each foot of the hillside. Observers sat be- 
side them with field glasses, scanning the verdure inch by inch. 
At times a barrage would be laid down on some special spot 
from which it seemed too much fire was coming, and the shots 
would stir the grass and trees as by a quivering wind and a 
creeping fire. Trench mortars and Bren guns were also in use. 
Above us in the far distance at Fort Stanley the big guns were 
thundering at shorter and shorter intervals. 

Standing guard between different sections of the hotels were 
turbaned Indian soldiers, some of them Gurkhas, some Rasputs. 
They were also serving on the beach patrol, which was a dan- 
gerous job. Men from these companies had been especially 
brave in a rear-guard action as the British troops evacuated the 
mainland and had been cited by headquarters for their gal- 
lantry. 

Several times in the tunnel we had heard sounds far away at 
the beach end, and I always wondered if the Japs had discov- 
ered we were in this underground retreat and would try to 
make an entrance from the shore. If they had ever come up 
through the dark sloping tube with hand-grenades, there 
would have been sickening slaughter. I begged one of the of- 
ficers the first night to put an all-night guard at b<5th ends of 
the tunnel, but he didn't seem to think it necessary. 

As in all emergencies, there are certain people who stand 
out with vividness by their actions and bravery, like sunlight 
against black shadows. There were a number during our siege. 

There was Miss Marjorie Matheson, efficient manager of die 
hotel, who never lost her poise, no matter what happened. It 
is a big job even in peace-times to run a hostelry of this size 



RISING CURTAIN [ 79 

and caliber, but now conditions were extreme: several hun- 
dred guests, three hundred soldiers, a very small amount of 
supplies, and practically no staff. There were no lights, and in 
a short time no water. She set up a canteen in the kitchen and, 
with volunteers, kept hot tea and scones ready for the soldiers. 
I began to help here, and had long talks with the soldiers. 
Many were young Canadians, with full knowledge that they 
were improperly equipped to fight and were facing momen- 
tary death, but they never complained. 

One told me he was stationed in a pillbox which stuck out 
on top of the hill like a lighthouse on 'a bare rock. I had no- 
ticed it from the terrace and had heard guns blasting near it. 
He and several of his comrades had been without food for 
several days, so they decided to try to reach the hotel. 

" Just after we started, we heard a bunch of dirty Japs com- 
ing. There were forty of 'em, with hand-grenades. We didn't 
have any stuff left for our guns, so we slid into a small cave. 
Those Japs didn't pass more than a few feet away from our 
hiding-places, and, believe me, we even held our breath! 

" After they went by, we crawled out and started on. But 
a bullet hit my friend, and we had to carry him the rest of the 
way. That was all right, but we came to a steep cliff and 
couldn't figure how to get down it. We just sat on the edge, 
wondering about it, when I'll be damned if a blast from die 
big guns didn't blow us all over. Believe that or not. I don't 
know whether we just jumped from fright or whether the 
force of it knocked us over, but I know we landed twenty feet 
below in no time at all. Fortunately my pal who was Hurt 
landed on top of us. Luck's wonderful, isn't it? " He grinned 
at me. 

I more than agreed with his conclusion when he showed me 
his helmet with great pride. " See that hole? Half an inch more 
and a bullet would have gone through my head. Instead it just 
lifted my helmet, off for a few inches, and then it popped back 
down again. I sure was surprised." 



8O ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

This is one of those fantastic stories of which war is full, and 
yet they are so true and heartbreaking when you see and hear 
them directly that your mind throbs with the pain of it. 

. It was horrible to see how hungry some of the soldiers were! 
They had no concentrated rations on their belts, and many 
had spent three or four days without food. And yet not one 
of them hesitated when they had finished eating to march out, 
back into the hills where they knew death was almost a sure 
thing. 

Then there was Mrs. S. V. Logan, the housekeeper, just re- 
covering from an injured ankle, with a burr as thick as a fog 
over the Scottish moors. She was tireless and went on with her 
work without resting. The Angel of Mercy of the siege was 
white-haired Elizabeth Mosey, who had served in the last war 
and had retired to the hotel to do the light nursing that is nec- 
essary in such a pkce. Without her, many wounded soldiers 
would have died during the siege, for there was no other nurse 
present to care for them. 

My favorite of all the heroes of the siege was young Ser- 
geant Bob Heath, with his very, very British accent and his 
extraordinary vitality. Watching him, you felt sure you were 
viewing a fully charged high-voltage electric wire in action. 

It was the afternoon I returned to the hotel that I first saw 
him. A new group of soldiers had reached the hotel, and among 
them was this lad with his cap cocked on die side of his head, 
and a smile as grand as sunshine on tumbling surf. 

" Where are those damned Japs? " he demanded. 

Someone made a sweep of his hands toward all the hills. 

Sergeant Heath fairly danced with excitement as he went 
out on the terrace. 

Whizz! Zing! Spat! 

The Japs weren't missing a single movement, and their bul- 
lets bit into the near-by wall. 

He jumped back into die room. " Now I know where they 
are! " he beamed. " Got to get a bunch of them right away." 

First he was in one tough spot and then in another, and his 



RISING CURTAIN [ 8 1 

energy inspired others. On the terrace there was a broken 
Bren gun carrier that the Japs had put out of order, and he 
decided it needed to be rescued so the gun could be used. Out 
he went, under fire, and managed to get it back into the hoteL 

That night he confided to me that there was a Red Cross 
ambulance about half a mile up the road. " Think I better get 
it," he said. " Might need the darned thing, you know." 

You can't deter a lighted stick of dynamite, so I watched 
him go with silent fear. 

I waited by the door, and after what seemed many nights I 
heard a car drive up. 

" Did you get it? " I stupidly whispered as he came running 
in. 

"Lady, I can't get you an ambulance every time," he 
laughed. " There was another car in front of that, so I thought 
Td better bring that back first. Might need it, too. But soon as 
I get a drink of water, Fm going back after the other." 

So out he went into the murderous night again, crawling on 
his hands and knees for all the distance, hearing the occasional 
snipers' bullets, knowing that any noise would bring a full 
barrage down on him. 

In the morning there were two cars in front of the hotel 
and one of them was a Red Cross ambulance. 



Chapter VIII 

First Act 



-L HAD a rousing good fight the next morning that proba- 
bly did me more good than a bottle of champagne, for it set 
me to work and thus saved me from thinking too much of how 
it seemed to me the Battle of Repulse Bay was being run. 

Shortly after breakfast, air-raid warning notice was given. 
It had been decided that the tunnel below the hotel was too 
difficult for many to get to, and too damp. Across part of the 
front of the hotel there was a long, low room which had been 
used for storage, and sandbags were placed before all the win- 
dows. Here everyone was ordered to go, including part of 
the staff. 

Here, unfortunately, was also a woman who had consid- 
ered herself the ruler of Hong Kong society, a dowager duch- 
ess in her own estimation. Her limousine, her flying veils, and 
her scalding tongue had often been topics of the day in more 
gossipy times. Now she sat near the doorway, all spick and 
span, ready to direct the war from this point. She was not a 
guest of the hotel, but had come from her spacious home on 
die Peak when the Japs had arrived. * 

Most of the people were crouched on the floor, and it was 
uncomfortable and tiresome, of course. But when the planes 
came over and we bent our heads down and opened our mouths 
to assimilate the blasts, most were grateful for this safe spot. 
From time to time the Jap snipers would fire at the hotel, and 

82 



FIRST ACT 

we could hear the answering guns of the British near by 

Suddenly my own private war began. 

Mrs. Elegant, let us call her, looked around and in a 
trating voice said: " What are all these Chinese doing in 
What right have they to be here? " 

The battle was on! 

Since some of the Chinese were millionaires and well-1 
Chungking government officials, this was ill-timed, to s 
least. In addition there -were three little Chinese Air-Rai 
caution girls who had left their posts at Aberdeen as th 
had come in the back doors of the building. Their faces t 
white, but they did not say a word. There were also 
amahs and servants, but they were all human beings ar 
allies, as far as I was concerned. 

" Why shouldn't they be here? " I asked. 

" This is a hotel, and for its guests," she snapped. 

" Are you a guest here? " 

" I moved in yesterday. And let me tell you, young 1 
know more about these Chinese than you do. You people 
out from America for a few months and tell us who hav< 
here twenty years how to run the Chinese." 

Since I had worked several years in the United State* 
the Chinese relief forces and had also spent nearly two 
in China, I felt that I had probably a closer acquaintance 
them than she had. 

" What have you ever done to help them? " I asked. 

" Plenty of things, Til have you know." Her voice wa 
and vindictive. 

" Sure," I answered and was I mad! " YouVe live< 
pretty house high on a hill, with a score of servants i 
you've paid a few dollars a month, and that's about al 
work has fed at least fifty thousand children in the las 
years, but Til bet you haven't fed one." 

End of round one. I stalked back to my corner and ti 
keep my mouth shut. About this time some food was ] 
into the tunnel, and I was asked to help distribute it. I ] 



84 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

it to the Chinese, Americans, British, and all the rest, to amahs 
as well as to the " favored few." Some Chinese had received 
plates of food from friends in the kitchen, but I still didn't feel 
you could skip anyone. However, this blew off die lid again. 

" The idea of giving all those people food! " Mrs. Elegant 
sniffed. " They shouldn't be here at all, and they will get 
plenty of food even if we don't/' 

Since these people had been ordered to the tunnel by Brit- 
ish officers, and now was no time for discrimination, I felt dif- 
ferently. " I'm going to give everyone a share, and you can like 
it or not," I snapped back. 

About then one of the under managers of the hotel, a very 
fine and intelligent Chinese who had served there for a long 
time and was particularly well liked by the guests, came in 
with some food to distribute. My antagonist snatched die 
plate from his hand and said: " We don't want any more Chi- 
nese in here." 

This time I exploded as though a shell had made a direct hit 
on me. 

" Of all the stupid, ill-mannered women I've ever known, 
you are the worst," I stated rudely. " It has been talk of your 
sort that has caused international wars in the first place. Here 
we crouch, and our only hope of Hong Kong being saved is if 
the Chinese army manages to arrive to rescue us. Yet you make 
remarks of this sort about the Chinese. If I were you, I'd be so 
ashamed I'd hate myself. Personally I don't want to stay in a 
room with you, no matter how safe it is. I'd rather be out with 
the Japs' bullets than stay with a viper," and out I sailed, while 
she tossed her head like an excited bull and announced to our 
diverted audience: " American fool! " 

I plunked myself down on a small stone outside the door 
and tried to tie up my temper in a neat bundle again. Several 
men who had heard die noise came over and patted my shoul- 
der, and said: " Chin up, and forget it." 

Actually the whole thing had been an excellent tonic for 
me, for from now on I direw myself into work, which is the 



FIRST ACT [ 85 

best thing to do under any trying circumstances. I went into 
the dining-room, which looked as though a hurricane had 
blown through it in a hurry. The tables had all been put in 
long lines, so they were easier to serve, and were already set 
for the nest meal. But the little men had- been having a busy 
'day outside that morning, and their bullets had been whang- 
ing away into the room, biting off bits of the ceiling, and 
there were hunks of mortar and wood and dust over every- 
thing. It was necessary to take off the knives, forks, and spoons, 
shake the cloths, and reset the tables. There were bullet heads 
from the British guns all over the floor, and there was dirt 
and dust from hundreds of boots. 

I went to work. Also helping was Baroness Guillaume, who 
had left the tunnel a few minutes after I did. The Baron was a 
little nervous at her being in this exposed room, but she felt 
better working, as I did, and she helped sweep, dust, and ar- 
range things. In a few minutes the Baron was helping us also. 
Soon about half a dozen women were busy, and after an hour 
of hard work some degree of normality was restored. 

One Jap bullet hit the ceiling above me and dropped a lump 
of mortar on my back. I jumped as high as an Olympic star 
vaulter, Fm sure. I thought I was shot, but remember thinking 
that I still preferred a bullet to that silly woman's words. 

I found myself a number of tasks throughout the day, pair- 
ing up with Mrs. Jean Martin, a Russian married to a Britisher 
in Shanghai. Jean had been in Australia visiting her son and 
had been headed back to Shanghai when war caught her in 
Hong Kong. We constituted ourselves a bed-making and 
room-straightening crew, and went through our wing doing 
a fairly good job of restoring order. I recall that as I went 
about this homelike task I was amused to realize that it was 
still a job for " women at war." 

We were also given the task of washing bloody and duty 
bandages and towels from the emergency hospital. The water 
supply had been shut off by this time, owing to successful 
Japanese shelling on December 19, and all there was in which 



86 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

to clean these cloths were big tubs of already used water. We 
washed them, however, and soon they were in use again. We 
did this in an open court, and glanced now and then toward 
the hills, wondering if the Japs wanted to kill us. One shot had 
nearly finished Miss Matheson as she had stood near here, and 
there was no reason to believe we weren't good targets also. 

One of the worst problems which faced our garrison at this 
point was lack of water. We had filled the tubs, and each 
morning used a small cupful for washing, and the men had a 
bit for shaving. Some was boiled in the kitchen, and there were 
containers in each room, but these allowed individuals only a 
few sips night and morning. 

The toilet facilities became serious. From five to fifteen 
people were staying in almost every room, and soon the excre- 
ment was level with the tops of the seats. In some of the public 
rooms which the soldiers used this overflowed, and the fetid 
stench was creeping sickeningly through the hotel. In fact, as 
soon as you opened the door to your room, you almost had an 
attack of nausea. At first I'm sure everyone thought the water 
mains would be repaired and that we would be supplied again. 
It is hard to realize that war does things so finally and so in- 
exorably. 

Mr. Marsman, as an engineer, realized that something must 
be done, and he organized a squad with buckets and pails. Some 
Americans and Britishers helped, and some Chinese workers 
were paid a good sum to assist. It was one of the most dis- 
agreeable tasks of which anyone could conceive, and yet it had 
become such a vital problem that action had to be taken at 
once or an epidemic would have resulted. After it was fin- 
ished, many of the men went out behind the hotel and were 
violently sick. 

I slipped into the hospital room from time to time to take 
cigarettes or to talk to tie injured if they seemed so inclined. 
A small room that had been part of the lobby Miss Mosey con- 
verted into this emergency ward, and with virtually no sup- 
plies had set up a place for the wounded and the dying. 



FIRST ACT [ 87 

Toward the last of the siege a doctor managed to get through 
from Fort Stanley, but I am sure there was no doctor at first, 
and this one had to operate on the floor. It is wonderful to see 
how doctors and nurses cany on in the face of all seemingly 
insurmountable difficulties during war-time. 

Sometimes when I would go back to one of the cots, there 
would be a different soldier there another lad had died that 
we at home might live under democratic rule. 

Several times I was there when word came that more in- 
jured were being brought in, and we would rush to the win- 
dow where they were to be received. It was necessary to try 
to sneak these broken men in through a back window, which 
was one of the few in the hotel which could not be seen by 
the Japs in the hills. 

This morning the stretcher bore a large man whose stomach 
had been ripped open by Jap bullets. He lay quietly, but was 
conscious. It was impossible to lift him over die window-sill 
and carry him down several flights of steps without jarring 
him, but never once did he wince, or show us in what agony 
he was. We carried him to the little hospital, where he was 
laid on the floor, and the doctor began to operate almost be- 
fore we could step back. 

There were no opiates for him, but as we moved away, he 
looked up and smiled, saying: " Thanks for the help." 

By this time it had become necessary for those of us who 
were in the end of the hotel toward Hong Kong to move into 
the wing which nestled down behind the stone cliff and was 
thus not so open to Jap firing. Mr. Marsman offered me a 
place in his suite which was one of the finest apartments in the 
hotel. By the time the siege was over, there were fourteen of 
us there. 

I went back to my own room several times at twilight, when 
the snipers seemed to take a rest, or perhaps the light was poor. 
I had to crawl under the windows, for that was the order. By 
this time I knew many of the soldiers who sat looking up 
toward the hills, and they always had a joke or a greeting for 



PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

me. A wire-haired terrier sat beside one, with his head cocked 
in the position of " His Master's Voice "; he accompanied us 
through all our execrable experiences. 

But one soldier didn't smile. He sat with his eyes never 
wavering from the hills deep, tired, embittered eyes. He had 
received word that his wife had been blown to bits by a Jap 
bomb in Hong Kong, and there was no peace or rest for him. 

There was always evidence of fighting in my room new 
Jap bullet-holes through the glass, and discarded bullet heads 
from the British guns on the floor. It gives you a strange feel- 
ing to realize that in your once quiet and peaceful quarters 
death and life are fighting a battle. At the very last of the siege 
the Japs actually entered this end 'of the hotel, and hand-to- 
hand fighting went on up and down the corridor. 

It was on the third morning of the siege that a small British 
gunboat appeared in the bay in front of the hotel and began 
firing at it. The Royal Navy men inside nearly went crazy, and 
ran onto the terrace signaling and shouting and waving, al- 
though that seemed useless. Apparently they were finally 
identified through glasses from the boat, and it turned away. 

Such things happened many times in die Battle of Hong 
Kong. The Japs were able to tap wires and give orders to 
the British to fire against their own men. Sometimes they man- 
aged to give radio orders that were obeyed. Members of the 
Maryknoll Mission, near Fort Stanley, kter told of watching 
the fighting on the hills opposite them, with British troops 
on two ridges, who suddenly began firing at one another, 
killing many. Somehow the Japs had managed to give such an 
order, and it was carried out. Perhaps those cables I had seen 
lying on top of the ground before the war, about which I had 
asked, had something to do with it. 

For several days there was telephone communication be- 
tween Hong Kong and our hotel. I phoned the American Club 
one morning to ask a member" of die American Consulate to 
take my movie films which were left there to some pkce for 
safekeeping; 



FIRST ACT [ 89 

"Oh, they are all right," he replied. "The Chinese looters 
won't touch those." 

" That's not the point," I answered. "Those are historical 
documents, and valuable to our government, if nothing else. 
Can't you do something with them? " 

No, he couldn't and thus some of the most startling films 
of the Battle of Hong Kong were lost forever. 

Another morning a rather muffled voice answered me. It 
was quite early in the morning, and it seemed a bit premature 
for too much liquor. 

" Yes," said this friend. " I'm tight. So are the rest of us. 
A shell came directly through the club, in one side and out 
the other. And if you don't think we need a drink lots of 
drinks you're crazy! " 

Why on earth the shell didn't explode as it passed through 
the room no military man can explain, for that is what usually 
happens when a shell hits hard surfaces, spraying the surround- 
ings with shrapnel and slaughter. Five members of the Ameri- 
can dub are living on borrowed time today, and any new 
and extra gray hairs they have now they earned in a legitimate 
manner! 

The American dub was jammed with refugees by this rime, 
sleeping on the floor, living on a minimum of water. The food 
which had been stored in die refrigerators was spoiling because 
the electric power was off. People had to climb up and down 
the long flights of stairs because the elevators were not run- 
ning. There were no more air-raid sirens to disturb the citi- 
zens, because no provision had been made for auxiliary power 
to keep them going in case of destruction of the power house. 
Jap planes arrived at will, dived down as low as they wished, 
and let loose their darts of death. 

Direct hits had been made on the entrance to one air-raid 
shelter as a thousand people were entering. D?ath was ahead 
of the race to keep the street dear of bodies, and the rotting 
remains were lying around everywhere. 

The police had moved their headquarters into the Glouces- 



90 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

ter Hotel after the station had been almost destroyed, and the 
next hour the Japs began shelling that, so quickly had their 
fifth-columnists reported the fact. 

The Japs were unloading six sticks of bombs now instead 
of one, and upon a direct hit, a building evaporated. Many 
Japs entered the city itself by discarding their uniforms and 
moving in with Chinese crowds. Japan's invasion plans have 
been worked out for long years. 

Late one night I called the American dub to report to one 

O JL 

of the American Consulate staff who had asked that I let them 
know daily what was happening on our side of the island. 
Baron Guillaume had also requested me to ask the officials to 
get a military car to come for them at Repulse Bay, if there 
was any possible way to do so. 

It was absolutely dark in the hotel, with the exception of 
pin-points of light from flashlights. The telephone system had 
now become a military line, and only a few people were sup- 
posed to use it. 

There was a short distance between the wings, and Indian 
soldiers stood there, tall bkck shadows with their fixed guns. 
I had to be identified as I crossed the few feet. I stumbled up 
the stairs in smothering darkness, and into the small anteroom 
of the space which held the switchboard. 

I took up the receiver and could hear Major Manners mak- 
ing a report to military headquarters, so I hung up. Later he 
told me I could not put a call through, but I managed to con- 
vince the Chinese telephone operator it was important. 

I made my report to the Consulate and asked if they thought 
help was coming, because we were in a hopeless trap if it 
didn't. We had been told by British officers in the hotel that 
there weren't more than fifty or sixty Japs on our side of the 
island, but that didn't seem to add up correctly to some of 
us there was too much firing, too many casualties, and I'd 
talked to too many of those boys who had slid down the hills 
for help and food. 

" The Japs have landed a good-sized force at North Point," 



FIRST ACT [ 91 

I was told. " The Japanese bombardment is gathering momen- 
tum; they are concentrating their heavy artillery against Brit- 
ish positions on Mount Keller and Mount Austin. One bomb 
crashed into the barracks on Austin and seemed to destroy it. 
We can see a steady stream of boats bringing Japanese troops 
and guns from Kowloon to the Taikoo shipyards on the island* 

" We believe the Japs have a continuous line from the race- 
course to Aberdeen, and are now half-way between Happy 
Valley and the center of the city. It seems evident that die 
island is being cut in half by a line of Jap soldiers extending 
dear across the peaks the length of the island, and we cannot 
see anything but surrender ahead. There is no chance of help 
reaching Repulse Bay, according to our belief, for the troops 
are busy defending Hong Kong on this side and the naval 
base and Fort Stanley on yours. In fact, about all we can 
say to you is that we hope you can call us again tomorrow 
night, but in the meantime we all wish you good luck." 

I hung up with a desperate feeling gripping my heart. Slowly 
the last words seeped deep into my mind: " We wish you 
good luck? 

There was no doubt what was meant. The British were tell- 
ing us differently, but die American observers, not swayed 
by wishful thinking or unbelief diat diis could happen to any 
part of the Empire, were facing the cold, stark truths. The 
Japs had landed a large force and were winning the batde. 

What that American was saying to me was: " Good luck 
and good by." 



Chapter K 

"We Must Surrender" 



-HE WAR began on December 8. Four days later the 
Japanese occupied Kowloon and set up their big-gun shooting- 
range, and we became the day pigeons. The next day they 
sent their first peace mission. On December 15 they sent an- 
other. On the i yth they sent across to the island die first of 
their troops on sampans, which landed near North Point in 
Hong Kong, but their first big-scale landings were made on 
the night of December 18. 

Although many Britishers were aware of these landings, 
high-ranking British officers did not seem to be. At least they 
appeared to disdain the idea that the Japs would be able to put 
ashore enough troops to be of any consequence. (Remember 
Pearl Harbor, and our belief that the Japs could not attack 
Hawaii?) Time and time again the Military High Command 
was informed of the coining of these Japs, but usually the an- 
swer was: " Go back and have another drink. You are seeing 
things." 

One friend of mine who knew the Governor-General told 
him personally she had seen Jap troops land on the lyth. " Un- 
doubtedly Chinese fishermen. You are seeing things under the 
strain." The second time he only laughed, and implied that 
it was " impossible." 

A captain of a fire brigade at one advanced spot managed to 

92 



" WE MUST SURRENDER " [ 93 

get through to headquarters. " The Japs are coming, and we 
are going to be surrounded. We need help." " You're getting 
nervous out there. Better relax, take another look, and you'll 
see your Japanese soldiers are only Chinese farmers." 

The second time this captain called he was almost frantic* 
" I must talk to the commander," he said. "We are all going 
to be massacred unless we get help." 

" Sorry, old chap. The commander has had a tough night 
and is resting. He can't be disturbed." 

Even as late as Christmas Day, when British members of our 
own party, then captured, were sent to the Governor with an- 
other peace offer, and told him of all the Japanese we had seen, 
as well as the continual uninterrupted landing of their troops, 
he refused to take it seriously. " Let them land in any numbers 
they want. That isn't important." 

The British Military Command's disregard of the fact that 
the Japanese were assuming control of the island is utterly in- 
credible. Whether they were so completely convinced that 
the fortress was " impenetrable," as propaganda had had it for 
years, or whether they were too blind to see, I don't know or 
understand. Neither did the British soldiers wh^ltid to keep 
on fighting when the war was really over for tfefe time being, as 
far as Hong Kong was concerned. If the city was actually pre- 
pared to hold out for months, as had been indicated, that was 
one thing; but the continued killing of soldiers when surrender 
was already indicated is incomprehensible to a non-military 
person/ Or if it had been planned to fightkto the death, that 
was another thing. But surrender came when it was neither one 
thing nor the other. 

Tlie Japanese began to penetrate to every part of the island. 
They knew each inch of it in advance. Their maps showed 
every detail, block by block. Here is a crooked tree; there is a 
certain sign. Farther along is a hill with a slope of thirty de- 
grees. Here is an air-raid tunnel that leads almost into the naval 
dock yards, and both entrances are unguarded by soldiers. 
Their maps were up to date to the last second before hostili- 



94 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

ties began, and from then on they had constant reports from 
die Wang Ching-wei Chinese. 

There were many puzzling things about the defense of 
Hong Kong puzzling to the bystander. One was the com- 
plete switch of command of both military and governmental 
authorities not very many months previous to this precarious 
time. The Governor-General, the Colonial Secretary, the 
general in charge of Military High Command, were all com- 
paratively new to the colony. Two of the best-trained bat- 
talions in and around Hong Kong and the New Territories, 
who knew the terrain in detail, were switched to Singapore. 
It was obvious that the British didn't believe it was dangerous 
to swap horses in midstream. 

Shortly after the Japanese occupied any area, up would go 
their own telephone lines. They had radio cars, but I did not see 
any belonging to the British, although they may have had some. 
After the capture of Kowloon, the Japanese had trucks with 
loudspeakers along the harbor, broadcasting to the Hong Kong 
side in Chinese, appealing to the Chinese to surrender at once, 
before it was necessary to blast the city wide open in order to 
force capitulation. 

I'll interpose an amusing story I heard, after surrender, about 
these broadcasts. Colonel Tack, head of the first peace mis- 
sion, which I had photographed, was not satisfied with these 
pleas and announced to the men under him that he would 
show how he wanted them made. 

He had apparently had quite a few drinks before the car 
drew up alongside die harbor, and gave a very long impas- 
sioned plea to the Chinese to surrender. His oratory blossomed 
eloquently, and when he finished he turned to his underlings, 
much pleased with himself, and said: " There, that is the kind 
of job I want done." 

They bowed and nodded approval. Being smart lesser beings 
in the military scale, they didn't tell him that in his fuddle he 
had broadcast to die Chinese entirely in Japanese! 

The Jap planes also dropped pamphlets directed at the 



" WE MUST SURRENDER " [ 95 

Chinese and Indians, urging surrender. Most of these were 
laughable examples of Japan's underestimation of Chinese in- 
telligence, and the Chinese eagerly gathered up the scraps of 
paper to use for other and more utilitarian purposes. 

The Jap troops brought with them at least a thousand army 
mules, which they put to work dragging guns to new emplace- 
ments and carrying supplies up the steep hills. They weren't 
dependent on military roads, as were the British, and the fact 
that the gap road and other strategic highways had been 
bombed and the island was cut in two, was of no concern to 
them. They had ways of getting supplies through that had 
proved useful in warfare long before motors, trucks, and am- 
bulances were conceived. As soon as certain key roads had 
been destroyed by the Japanese planes and big guns, the Brit- 
ish were impotent to get supplies through and around these 
breaks. Not so the Japs. 

Some people now say the Japs can't fight in Russia during 
the severe winter cold that the Japs aren't used to freezing 
and sub-zero weather (just as it was said they weren't suited 
to tropical fighting). What they forget is that the Japs have 
had troops in Manchuria for years, well accustomed to that 
bitter climate. And what they don't know, perhaps, is that for 
years they have been training soldiers in what are known as 
the " Alps of Japan," developing ski troops, men hardened to 
cold weather and ice-and-snow fighting. When will the Allies 
stop underestimating the length and breadth of the planning 
and the minute attention to detail that the Japanese military 
have been giving to the conquering of the Far East for the last 
twenty-five years? 

We could tell that the Japs in the hills in back of Repulse 
Bay Hotel were well fitted for their task, for they never be- 
trayed their positions, which meant they were experdy camou- 
flaged Their men were able to go from one to another of the 
rocky and precipitous cliffs without being detected. About 
the only way our snipers could judge their positions was when 
aflash of a gun would betray them, or when the direction from 



96 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

which the bullets were coming could be worked out mathe- 
matically by the British* 

As the siege wore on, we became more accustomed to liv- 
ing in this " glass house," for we felt die Japs could look directly 
into the hotel and spot the various people there. However, 
that did not prepare us for the attack they made one morning 
that took everyone by surprise and nearly scared our entire 
group to death. 

It was a bright sunny hour when the guests b^gan to gather 
for breakfast. I was setting the table when suddenly our firma- 
ment seemed to burst into fury and fire. The Japs were making 
a concerted attack on the hotel, and they were using all they 
had in this sudden effort. 

" Get into the lobby! " yelled a British officer. 

Everybody "got," including many of the soldiers. The 
lobby was a small room in front of the registration desk, with 
a glass skylight over it, which didn't add to our comfort. 

" Get down on the floor! " the order came again. 

Men, women, and children were piled up in the small space. 
Chairs were tossed out of the way, while cushions were grabbed 
to put over the children's heads. We all tried to help the 
mothers cover their small boys or girls or babies, and there 
were actually layers of people on the floor. 

Blast after blast could be heard outside, and the crash of glass 
and timber. I know there wasn't a single person there who 
didn't feel the end had come and that the Japs would storm 
up the front steps and through the windows at any minute. 
Trench mortars were being used, and they make a terrific 
sound that defies all one's attempt to reason. We could hear 
the spat, spat, spat of bullets as they hit the walls of the dining- 
room next door, and confusion reigned supreme. 

It took my young fighting sergeant to save the situation. 
He burst from somewhere, yelling out: " Come 0$, you sol- 
diers. Get out from behind those women. We've got to move 
that ammunition out front, or the damned fools will blow up 
the blooming pkce! " 



" WE MUST SURRENDER " [ 97 

It rallied the soldiers, and restored the belief of the civilians 
that all was not yet lost. We continued to crouch on the floor, 
for fear a shell would lob through die building or the sty- 
light, bringing down beams and pillars, steel and stone. I ex- 
pected an air attack at the same time, but, thank God, we were 
not subjected to that. The hotel was an isolated and splendid 
target, and certainly could have been destroyed by planes, 
which could have flown five hundred feet above it without 
interference. 

The attack was not a long one, but it seemed virtually a year. 
It was a shaken-looking group who stood up as the noise sub- 
sided, and we could hear the British snipers' guns again taking 
up their share of the singsong duet of death. 

The dining-room was a shambles. One corner of the portico 
had been blasted away. As the bullets had come up from be- 
low, from either the beach or the lower terrace, they had hit 
the ceiling and the large pillars in the room. Hunks of mortar 
and shredded bits of wood had played snowstorm over all the 
chairs and tables. Dust and debris were everywhere. 

I went wobbling back to my task of setting the table. A 
freak hit of a Jap bullet had located a fork which I had just 
placed beside a plate, and had bent all the tines into a point. 
I kept the thing among my souvenirs. 

Nights presented living dramas. As soon as darkness came, 
the bkck-out curtains would be dropped, and somehow a 
small sense of peace came with this shutting out of the world of 
snipers. Vague shadows haunted the corners from the few 
candles that lit this room, which had become the heart of the 
huge hotel. Tired soldiers dropped to a clear space in the 
center, keeping their guns beside them, often lying with their 
heads on their packs. Part of their supplies were stacked on 
the orchestra stand, from which so much happy music had 
been played for years to guests from all the earth. 

Fd often sit on die floor talking to the soldiers, most of them 
youngsters, concerned about how " Mum " or " Dad " or their 
girl at home was taking the news of this war. Often we'd just 



9 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

rest in silence, because we were all sick at heart at the slaughter 
going on about us. 

" I had often wondered," one young chap said to me, " how 
Fd feel if I ever really had to kill a man. I've been in the Volun- 
teer Corps here for several years, and we've drilled and learned 
the rudiments of fighting. But I was always afraid I'd really 
hate to take the life of another human." His face and eyes went 
hard as gray granite. " But I know now. If I could personally 
kill every Japanese on this island, who are destroying our 
homes and our friends and our way of life, I would be the 
happiest man on this earth! " 

I had gone with this lad to a merry carnival given to raise 
money for Chinese co-operatives the week before the war. 
He was curly-haired and young, filled with the excitement of 
living, and we had had many kughs at the amusements. Two 
days after this talk I saw him lying dead beside the road, his 
face turned to the sky, whose sun he would never see again. 

There was talk of the lack of direction at Repulse Bay Hotel, 
for no one was ever quite sure who was in active command. 
Many officers had been killed, and more had not been able to 
join their men. One chap told me he had been a Volunteer 
with only a private's rank, and overnight he had to become 
commander of his group, though he knew he was not prepared 
for that task As far as I know, there was never a supreme high 
command over this extemporaneous garrison, although some 
pointed to a drunken officer as the possible man. 

Certain people assumed command of the situation as much 
as possible, including Major Manners and Mr. Andrew Shields. 
Major Manners was a retired officer from the last war, and 
head of large business enterprises in Hong Kong, Mr. Shields, 
an important executive, was one of the most dignified and 
charming British gentlemen I have ever met, and his calmness 
and his attempts to do something about the drastic situation in 
which the hotel found itself, brought encouragement to all. 
There were also Mr. B. H.Puckle, Mr, V. I. G. Peterson, and 



" WE MUST SURRENDER " [99 

Mr. Seth, a director of the hotel, who also seemed active in 
trying to organize our strange existence. 

Our time was growing thin, however, for it was evident 
that no help could reach us. Whoever was in touch with mili- 
tary headquarters (and I think it was Shields and Manners) 
apparently finally made this clear, for plans were developed to 
send all of the women and children to Fort Stanley. We were 
told to pack bags and to have them near the door so that we 
could make a rush to the cars, ambulance, and trucks. 

It seemed a suicide venture to us. As soon as the cars were 
away from the front door, we would be under Jap snipers' fire. 
Some of it was evidently deadly accurate, as we had been able 
to observe. To hit the driver was all that would be necessary 
to send the load careening off the road, down the cliffs to 
the sea. 

In addition Stanley, which was under siege too, and cer- 
tainly must be preoccupied with keeping from being captured, 
wouldn't want two hundred unexpected guests just at this time. 
Actually some of the bloodiest fighting of the war took pkce 
here; and the slaughter and raping on Christmas Day as the 
Japanese flooded over it, were among die most ghastly in the 
entire Battle of Hong Kong. 

However, there was nothing to do but obey orders, and the 
bags were stacked near the door as the sun began to set. Dark- 
ness would be no cover, for flares serve to spotlight any mov- 
ing object with golden brilliance. Apparently calmer judg- 
ment and good sense thwarted this doomed plan, for we did 
not go. Twilight slid into darkness, and die fifth day of the 
siege was ending. 

There was an undercurrent of feeling among the soldiers 
that was as strong as an ebb tide to anyone who is sensitive to 
the moods of others. They had been told that a new plan of 
action had been agreed upon and they must be ready to act. 
The committee members would not tell me what was going 
on, but my soldier friends did 



100 ] PRISONER OF f THE JAPS 

"We're going away in the night," one said. "We'll crawl 
away and try to get to Fort Stanley, so the hotel will be filled 
with only civilians in the morning, and then maybe the Japs 
won't kill everyone." 

The blood drained from my face, for I knew that meant 
we were surrendering. Taking down the British flag . . . put- 
ting up the white flag . . . bowing to the bloody banner of 
the Rising Sun. 

" Here," said one soldier, " take this, just in case, will you? " 
It was a crumpled piece of paper with his mother's address in 
Scotland. " Will you try to send a message through some day, 
just in case I can't? " asked young Zimmerman, giving me the 
name and address of his mother in Shanghai and of his fiancee 
in Altadena, California. (I had a letter from her this week, 
saying her life had begun anew when my letter reached her.) 

We had dinner in the dimness, and there was a feeling of a 
last supper that reached deep into my heart. The long lines 
of tables guests from many nations what were the Japs 
going to do to us when they arrived? The soldiers hundreds 
of them from Canada and England and India and Scotland 
would they be able to make die precarious journey through 
the night? If they did succeed, what would happen to them 
at Fort Stanley, whose big guns had been speaking forth so 
often? And what was going on over there at that strategic and 
dangerous point? 

I went to Major Manners and asked to call the American 
Consulate members again, to report as I had been asked. 

" No private calls," he replied. 

" This is a call to my government, which has requested me 
to tell them what happens each day over here as I observe it." 

" Nothing but military calls," he snapped. " Sorry, but you 
cannot put through a call for even one minute." 

So it was that I was not able to inform the interested ob- 
servers in our own government that Repulse Bay Hotel and its 
American guests were about to surrender, and they did not 
know of it for some days. In fact, the Hong Kong papers re- 



" WE MUST SURRENDER " [ 101 

ported in an official communique several days later: " The 
Repulse Bay area has been clewed of Jap troops" And I was 
reported dead for several weeks. 

The soldiers ky down on the floor early this evening, trying 
to get a little rest before their strange journey. But I noticed 
that many eyes were not closed, but were staring at the ceil- 
ing. It was a silent room, in which only a few candles flickered, 
and the three hundred soldiers on the floor were but tired 
huddled bundles thinking ahead into the bkck hours. 

I stood by the doorway for a last look, and it seemed that 
I must scream with the oppressive feeling of destiny that was 
f ogging the very air. Life and death are partners in war, but 
they hurt your heart when they march so close together that 
a half-second can change the one to the other. 

My illustrious sergeant saw me standing there with tears in 
my eyes. " Fm surprised at you, miss," he said. " You mustn't 
worry about us. We'll be all right. Just you keep right on 
smiling as you always have, and everything will come out all 
right. See you kter, and cheerio! " He saluted me and turned 
back to his far dark corner. 

Sergeant Bob Heath - 1 salute you! 

The corridors were full of people lying on the floor, trying 
to sleep. Some were soldiers, some were civilians who could 
not find room in the overcrowded chambers at this end of 
the hotel while die fighting was progressing at the other. 

I walked slowly down the hallway, silent except for the 
sentry at the top of the stairs, while the bkck curtains flapped 
dismally over the tall windows. It seemed there must be some- 
thing that could be done. But I was forced to realize that any- 
thing I, or any individual in England, America, or China, could 
do now would only be too little, too kte. 



Chapter X 

Captured ! 



AT was a restless night in our crowded room. Major 
Manners had told his wife that everything was going to be 
all right, but she kept wanting someone to telephone him to 
see what was happening. Every once in a while she would call 
out: " What's that noise? What's that noise? " 

For the greater part of die night I lay in my corner on the 
floor, trying to visualize what would happen in the morning, 
and what was happening right then in the night down below. 

The zero hour for the departure of the soldiers was two a.m., 
and at that time they began to leave, mostly in groups of 
twenty. Some went out across the terraces and down to the 
beach, others went through the tunnel, with their hands on the 
shoulders of the men in front of them. 

They had to discard their shoes and equipment so they 
could go quietly and quickly. One soldier whom I had known 
during the siege stumbled over a parapet and fell fifteen feet, 
badly injuring his ankle. The others had to leave him and go 
on, and he crawled back to the hotel. 

" But the Japs heard the sound," he said, " and all Hades 
broke loose in the night. Tracer bullets, machine guns, and 
flares all were mixed up in noise and light. Fortunately they 
couldn't locate what had happened, and it became quiet again." 

It was nearly dawn when a last group of soldiers, who had 
been asleep, came running into the lobby and were sent off 

102 



CAPTURED! [ 103 

in great haste before the first rays of light searched out the 
hotel. 

It was then that Major Manners came into our room, and 
with a sad, deadly tired voice announced: "It is all over. 
We've put up the white flag of surrender. Stay here in the 
room until you are ordered to leave it." 

The British flag coming down the white flag going up 
the Rising Sun to take its place! The agony of that hour will 
never leave me. I know how the men on Bataan and Corregi- 
dor died a bit in their hearts when the Stars and Stripes came 
down to be replaced by the hated blood-stained flag of 
Japan. 

The danger of that next hour to the guests can never be 
estimated. One wrong move, one Japanese soldier over-greedy 
for blood, one misleading step by any of the two hundred 
guests would have meant death for aU. The Japs could not 
know that none of us had been shooting their soldiers, for our 
hotel had been firing on them for days. I still do not know 
why we were not all massacred when they arrived. 

There were only a few who came in the first group, enter- 
ing through the back windows of the hotel with fixed bayonets. 

Mr. Shields, who spoke some Japanese, kept calling: " No 
soldiers here. No soldiers here." 

No one could be quite certain that the Japanese officers had 
seen the white flags flying in the pale light of early dawn; or 
that, seeing them, they would really believe what they meant, 
and not think all this was merely a trap. 

A group of Indian soldiers who had been on guard on the 
beach, who had not been notified of the departure, came 
marching in with full fighting regalia, and for a few minutes 
it seemed as though slaughter would result. They were dis- 
armed and marched off to their fate. 

The lobby was filled with Americans, British, Dutch, Chi- 
nese, and other nationals, with their arms raised. I came from 
my room at this point and stood at the top of the stairs look- 
ing down at the hundreds of upturned hands. The Japanese did 



104 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

not happen to see me standing there, and I went back. I had 
no desire to attend the session on surrender with all its humili- 
ating aspects, nor did I intend to let the Japs humble me any 
more than was necessary. 

The Belgian in our suite said: " Just stay here until you 
have to leave. Let the Japs take control, and obey their orders 
quickly." He spoke a little Japanese, and was sent for by his 
Ambassador, but he, too, remained quiedy in our room. 

Out of the mists of memory I suddenly remembered having 
been told in Honolulu once, rather facetiously, by someone 
who had been through the experience in Hankow: " If you're 
ever captured by the Japs, just get under the bed, stay there 
until they have taken over completely, turned on the lights, 
and started things working again. Then everything will be all 
right." That I would ever need Verne Staten's advice had 
seemed amusing and fantastic at the time, but now it seemed 
sane and sound. 

I went to the window, and could see a company of Jap 
soldiers marching by, already looking as though they owned 
the place. Then I saw one of the most damnable sights I ever 
want to watch the group of white prisoners being marched 
down the road, hands still held high, prodded by bayonets, 
headed toward Eu Tong-sen's mansion next door, where the 
Japs had set up headquarters. 

I cut a hole in the black-out curtain in the bath and began 
shooting pictures. I felt that if you in America could see your 
own people being marched by those little monkey men with 
the big bayonets, you would realize what the Japs intend to 
do to all white men and all other enemies in the Far East. 

The Japanese general at headquarters shot questions at the 
guests. 

" Where are your soldiers? " 

Major Manners and Mr. Shields acted as spokesmen. " They 
went away during die night." 

"Where?" 

"We don't know." 



CAPTURED! [ 105 

Then the general would point to this man or that one. " Who 
are you? " 

"I'm a banker." 

"Who are you?" 

" I'm a businessman." 

" Why aren't you fighting? Don't you know your country 
is at war with Japan? " 

The men tried to explain that in Britain and America certain 
men fight, others stay home to carry on the national business. 

The Jap rolled his words out like warning thunder. " In 
Japan every man fights. It makes no difference what his posi- 
tion is in peace-time. This is -aw." 

The group was stretched out in a long line, their arms still 
above their heads. The soldiers searched them, taking jewelry 
from some, smashing things they took from others. Finally 
the general seemed satisfied with his questioning. But he took 
a last parting shot that nearly broke the spirit of the prison- 
ers. 

" If yowr soldiers have gone away, leaving women and chil- 
dren unprotected, our soldiers will protect you." 

It was a humiliating statement which everyone had to take. 
It was impossible to explain that our soldiers had gone away, 
under the most dangerous conditions, so that the women, chil- 
dren, and civilian men might have a chance to live. 

It was a curious day of restless quiet. There was no more 
movement of the British soldiers, no more firing, no more 
sense of activity. Everything was finished. We were prisoners, 
and the Japanese intended us to know that. This was what I 
would have dreaded most in all the world if I had thought it 
could happen to me. In choosing to go into a war zone I knew 
that I might be injured or killed, but that didn't seem im- 
portant. But if I had been told in advance that I was to be 
captured by the Japs, I might not have faced it. 

We were told to clean up the dining-room, which was filled 
with the remnants of the fighting bullet heads and used 
ammunition. The soldiers had had to discard helmets, shoes, 



106 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

heavy belts, large packs, and broken guns. We were ordered 
to stack these up, and also to turn in everything that might 
be considered of military value guns, ammunition, binocu- 
lars, maps. It was impressed on us that the failure of any one 
person to do this would endanger the lives of all. 

While we were sweeping and cleaning the dining-room, 
putting the tables back in their usual pkces, the Jap soldiers 
stood guard in the doorway, with their guns dropped loosely 
over their arms, but always pointing at us. One little soldier 
in a baggy uniform stomped over to the piano and began 
playing. It gave a last crazy touch to the morning British 
and Americans taking orders from monkey-men, and one of 
them, who had just finished ferocious fighting, attracted to 
the piano on the orchestra stand! 

We had luncheon at two o'clock, and some tea at five. That 
luncheon was the last full meal we were to have for forty- 
four hours; in fact, the last one with our kind of food for six 
months. 

The Japs watched our every move during the day, for they 
were still suspicious of the surrender. We were all nervous, 
for we did not know when someone might make a wrong 
movement, and no matter how innocent, it might prove fatal. 
We were also still jittery over several incidents that had hap- 
pened when the Japs arrived. 

Jennie Dunnett had been peeking out from behind the black- 
out curtains in her room during the surrender, not wanting to 
take small Michael down to the Japs. She had seen a Chinese 
coolie coming toward the hotel, apparently unaware of what 
was happening, with a bunch of papers in has hands. A Jap sen- 
try stopped him, seized the papers, slapped him across the 
face with them, and then stuck his bayonet through him. 
Three more Japs came along and, laughing in high glee, stuck 
their bayonets into the writhing Chinese until he lay quiedy 
on the red ground 

Upon entering the hotel, the Japs had gone toward the 
litde emergency hospital in the lobby, where, draped over the 



CAPTURED! [ 107 

screen, they were confronted with a huge Red Cross flag 
which had been hastily made after the siege began. Inside were 
a few badly wounded and frightened British soldiers. We had 
all heard before of the treatment Japs give to wounded men. 

The soldiers, with fixed bayonets, rushed into the hospital. 
They started for the beds with their bayonets coming down 
into position. White-haired and frail Nurse Mosey stepped in 
front of the bayonet points. "You'll have to kill me first be- 
fore you kill them," she said. 

The Japs may not have understood the words, but they 
understood the gesture. They hesitated a moment, looked be- 
yond at the wounded men, whose eyes were begging for some 
show of humanity, and back at the determined little kdy in 
front of them, and then they backed away. There was no 
doubt that these British men owed their lives to the courage 
and bravery of Miss Mosey. Wounded men in other emer- 
gency hospitals weren't so lucky. 

We were told to make a complete list of everyone in the 
hotel for the Jap officers, with room numbers. The Japs wanted 
places to put some of their men during the night, and my room 
was among those assigned to them. 

There had been fighting up and down the corridors during 
the night, and in the early hours before the British left, the 
Japs had actually captured part of the far wing where my 
room was located. In several places were large burned holes 
in the rugs, which looked as though aa attempt had been made 
to set fire to the building. The walls of tie corridor bore 
comet-shaped scars of bullets, and almost every window had 
broken panes. Many of the doors bore bayonet slashes, made 
as the Japs forced diem open to see if there were any British 
soldiers left in the rooms. 

In the evening we were told to be in our rooms at nine 
o'clock for roll call. The fourteen in Mr. Marsman's suite sat 
quietly, each trying to look as nonchalant as possible. I was 
knitting, an excellent way to cover nervousness. 

Ours was the first place visited. After a huge bang on the 



108 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

door made by the hilt of guns, it swung open, and in came 
a grinning group of officers and men. They came by candle- 
light, which added a few glows to our two small tapers, but 
the room was still dim and foreboding. 

They sat down and looked us over carefully, smiling all 
the while. One came and dropped down beside me on the 
lounge, and I could smell that he had been drinking. He picked 
up my ball of yarn and squeezed it, suspecting, as I found 
afterwards, that bullets or poison might be hidden there. One 
officer called the roll, and then they asked a few questions of 
various people. 

Then the little officer next to me picked up his bayonet, and 
ran it back and forth across my throat several times! 

The feel of cold steel on your own neck is not a delectable 
sensation, and I could only bless the fates that I had a good 
poker face. I managed to shrug my shoulders, shake my head 
at the Jap, and smile as though I thought he was playing a very 
amusing game. But when that bayonet went down, I felt as 
though someone had removed a hangman's tightening noose 
from my neck. 

Evidences of the sadistic streak in the Japanese nature came 
to the fore time and time again during die following months. 
They loved to try to make one show fear, and woe to any in- 
dividual in whom they sensed any weakness. They created sen- 
sational situations and watched every expression to find the 
slightest sign of fright. From start to finish of our captivity we 
set ourselves never to show fear or pain or shame before these, 
our captors. We were determined never to let them know on 
what torturous treadwheels they were forcing our minds, and 
almost without exception the Japs never saw any weaknesses 
in their prisoners. They had conquered the colony by military 
might, but they had not conquered the morale, the courage, or 
the bravery of the people there. 

The hotel was a lonely pkce that night without our soldiers 
surrounding us, and we felt that a warm protective covering 
had been ripped away from us. Somehow the booming of the 



CAPTURED! [ 109 

far-away Fort Stanley guns didn't sound as comforting or con- 
vincing as they had before we were lost souls in the hands 
of our enemies, and we did not know whether the conquer- 
ing Japanese were also being successful in many other parts of 
the island. We did know, with dreadful certainty, that we 
were prisoners, in the hands of Jap soldiers one of the worst 
fates that could happen to anyone on earth. 

Just as we were about to have breakfast on the morning of 
December 24, we were ordered to the terrace. We gathered 
around the circular garden, while the Japanese soldiers in the 
center barked a roll call. 

Then we were segregated: the British and Americans and 
the few scattered individuals from the Allied nations; the neu- 
trals; the Chinese men; and in a different group the Chinese 
women. 

Victor Needa, the Eurasian jockey, was standing with the 
Japs, acting as interpreter. There was a great deal of discus- 
sion, and from time to time we were told to stand up or break 
into different groups. Then we were told to return to our 
rooms for baggage inspection. 

I had an emergency bag in Mr. Marsman's room and the 
other trunks and bags in my own room. 'A soldier and a high 
officer, whom I was told later was a lieutenant-colonel, in- 
spected our room first. I explained that the rest of the luggage 
was in the far end of the hotel and askdd if they wanted to fin- 
ish the examination of my things there. The officer nodded, 
and we started on the long walk, well over a quarter of a mile. 

I noticed that when the officer saw the pictures of the Jap 
peace mission, he evinced surprise. He looked carefully at the 
card on which Colonel Tada had written his name, and the 
names of the other two on the Mission. I did not realize for 
some time that the pictures were returned to my bag, but the 
card went into the officer's pocket. 

I opened all of my bags for inspection and then started back 
to the other room. An officer stopped me and told me everyone 
had five minutes to pack a small bag and return to the lawn. 



IIO ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

" Where are we going? " I asked, as did nervous people all 
along the corridor. The officer shrugged his shoulders. 

By the time I returned again to the last room in the far wing, 
almost everyone had already gone to the lawn. I had lent my 
warm coat to one of the English women in the room the day 
before, and now I couldn't find it anywhere. I decided the 
main thing I wanted to save was my cameras, so I discarded 
everything but one bag, and strapped the forty-five pounds 
of camera and equipment on my shoulders. 

When I returned to the terrace everyone said: " Those cam- 
eras are the first things that will be taken away from you." 

" They are die last things I want to lose," I replied, " so I'll 
just keep them as long as I can." 

I had dragged a bag with me to the lawn, but I realized that 
I could not possibly carry it. I took from it a thin summer coat, 
some red yarn, and a skirt. I put these over my arms and aban- 
doned the bag. 

Without any preliminaries or foreknowledge of where we 
were going, we were ordered to start marching. Two hundred 
of us went down the garden path, prodded by Japanese bay- 
onets. The oldest was eighty-three-year-old Lewis C Arling- 
ton, the youngest a baby of four months. There were small 
boys and girls, elderly men and women, sick and tired, and 
even some slightly wounded. 

I felt especially sorry for Mini Compton, who had to leave 
her paralytic husband and was not reunited with him for 
months, and for the Chinese men, who had to leave their wives 
and children in Japanese hands and were frantic with worry. 

We passed the garage which had harbored the first party of 
Japs only six days before, partly blasted away. We passed Eu 
Tong-sen's mansion, where the prisoners had been taken the 
day before. Grinning Jap sentries watched our passing. We 
heard shots as we went by, and we could picture what was 
happening to the Indian and British soldier captives. 

It was our hour of Gethsemane, and it was the day before 
Christmas. 



Chapter XI 

"Silent Night, Holy Night" 



JL T was a shining day as God decreed it a day of horror as 
man made it. The road wound quickly up toward the Peak, 
and the ascent was steep and difficult. The sun was high and 
hot, but the hills still stood guard over the burnished blue sea. 

What our eyes saw on that march, our minds will keep 
deeply etched f orevermore, for the first half-mile was a walk 
through the valley of the shadow of death. The road was lined 
with dead British soldiers burned, blasted, bayoneted. 

Some were twisted into grotesque caricatures of men, oth- 
ers turned their sightless eyes to the vigilant sun. Some were 
bkck with death others ky quietly as though asleep, never 
to wake again. Somehow those were harder to look at than the 
others. 

There were boys with whom I had danced, men I had 
known in business, soldiers I had seen fighting the hopeless, 
losing siege of Hong Kong. Almost everyone in our group 
knew one or another of these dead, knew their wives and chil- 
dren, who did not know as yet that they had been left behind. 

Apparently the fighting over this road had been desperate, 
and the British had fought along it foot by foot. There were 
supply trucks overturned and pardy burned in tangled heaps; 
passenger cars that had been abandoned, with many bullet- 
holes through the doors and windows, and sometimes a limp 
body hung tailing out of the car. There were dead bodies un- 

zii 



112 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS* 

der some of the trucks, as though the men had tried to find 
shelter and had sought comfort by pressing into Mother Earth, 
their fingers clawing at the dirt. 

The smell of death was as heavy as fog and as piercing as 
acid. It crawled into our nostrils, it seemed to paint our clothes 
with a cloying gray brush. I shall never forget the smell of 
massed death until the day I die. 

We tried to avert our eyes, and I know many of us called 
out in our hearts with anguish for God to stop such slaughter 
of young men, to create a world which did not mean blood, 
mangled flesh, bits of hands and arms and legs, blinded eyes, 
trailing insides, rotting, stinking flesh. We did not want to feel 
that young men like this, hardly beginning to know maturity, 
had to die that we might live. 

Above us Jap planes circled and dropped bombs on objec- 
tives to our left. A many-petaled black flower bloomed over 
the next hill, sending up trailing tendrils of flame and smoke. 
Shells whined over us. We felt no security from the Jap snip- 
ers in the hills, nor assurance they had all been warned that 
such a group as ours was moving along. We knew, of course, 
that the British had no knowledge of this trek and might try to 
shell such a large advancing party if they observed it. 

No one dared to betray any expression, because the little 
grinning Japs with their prodding steel bayonets were watch- 
ing our faces, waiting like avaricious vultures to enjoy any 
signs of inner turmoil. But the wondering eyes of the children 
saw everything, and we could only pray they did not realize 
what they saw. 

Our line lengthened out until it was about half a mile long. 
Many people abandoned their bags at the side of the road, re- 
alizing they could not carry them the miles which we were ob- 
viously going to be forced to march. The babies were being 
passed from arms to arms, and the older people already looked 
pale and shaken. 

Near the top of the peak Mr. Needa, I think it was, com- 
mandeered a passing truck being driven by a Jap soldier and 



" SILENT NIGHT, HOLY NIGHT " [113 

managed to get it turned around in the direction we were go- 
ing. Into it were loaded the mothers and children, the sick and 
the aged, a few of the bags. I suppose that some of our group 
would have died along the road without the help of this truck. 

As we started our descent from the top of Wong Nei Chong 
gap, we could look down on Hong Kong, and how far away 
and how near it seemed! In our wishful thinking, we had wist- 
fully hoped that perhaps the Japs were going to take us to the 
edge of British territory, and dump us over in order to get rid 
of us. We did not realize the scope of the plans the Japs had 
for the treatment of prisoners in Hong Kong thank heaven. 

The path down which we were directed was an improvised 
military one, rough and narrow. We could see Jap soldiers 
with mules dragging up supplies and big guns, and many times 
we passed near Japanese machine-gun nests hidden back under 
camouflaged embankments. It seemed the Japs were thor- 
oughly entrenched everywhere. 

I had got to the very first of the line, and managed to get my 
camera opened without the Jap soldiers stumping along ahead 
of me noticing it. I took their backs, with their baggy pants, 
their boots, which always seemed too large for them, and their 
bayonets, longer than they were. One curve of the road ran 
directly down to Hong Kong, and there was a huge fire burn- 
ing in the distance. I took a picture of the backs of the first of 
my own group, of the Japs, and of the city below. I wish I 
could have seen that stretch of movie film. 

Several times we flattened ourselves against the cliff walls 
when a series of shells came in our direction, as the British 
tried to smash these things w;e had just seen. We found kter 
that in the valley below there was a blazing battle, in which a 
thousand Canadian soldiers and their commander were killed 
in valiant fighting. 

We were about half-way down the slope when two young 
Canadian soldiers were made prisoners. They had been fighting 
in the hills for days and had not realized the Japs had taken all 
this sector. One had been shot through the chest, and the other 



114 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

through the leg. The Japs tied their hands behind them with 
cord and we marched on. 

No one else seemed to want to go near them, for fear the 
guards would be angry, I suppose, but they looked so brave 
and so alone, I had to talk to them. After I had walked beside 
them for a while, the little Jap soldier threw the cord over to 
me, rather contemptuously, I suppose, because he knew they 
could not escape, and I could not help them. 

I could smell the gangrene of their wounds, received five 
days before and still not treated. They also had not eaten any- 
thing except a few crackers during the same period, and it was 
that which had forced them to come sliding down the hill from 
the position to which they had been assigned. 

We were finally given a period of rest for a few minutes, 
and I sat beside the lads. One Jap soldier ripped open their col- 
lars T- they had on khaki coveralls and tore off their identi- 
fication disks and a small bag containing some of the buttons 
from their regiment, the Royal Winnipeg Grenadiers. He 
threw these into the gutter, but I was able to pull them toward 
me with my foot, and still have them. 

So much has happened since that I cannot be sure of the 
name of the soldiers, but one was something like Proux, and 
he was from Port Arthur, Canada. If anyone can identify this 
young soldier, I shall be happy to send the buttons to his fam- 
ily. He said he had two or three other brothers in the service, 
and he had just come from Bermuda, where many German 
prisoners were held. Later in our death-trap concentration 
camp I was to remember what he told of the swimming pools 
there, the kind treatment of the enemy by the townspeople, 
the flowers, and the tropical beauty which surrounded them. 

The Japanese chose this time to give us a ghastly object les- 
son of their might and power. Several soldiers brought up a 
group of young Chinese and an Indian and proceeded to mis- 
treat them. They would knock them down, kick them until 
they got up then, using jujitsu, trip them behind their legs, 
making them fall again. The Indian was blanched with fright 



" SILENT NIGHT, HOLY NIGHT " [ "5 

and was groaning and begging for mercy. One young Chinese 
was screaming in horror and dropped to his knees with up- 
raised pleading hands. 

I did not want to watch it but my eyes were held as a cat 
is held by a snake. My heart was pleading with whoever guides 
our destiny to stop this torture. I looked up into the serene 
blue sky and begged that no human being should be subjected 
to what these men were undergoing, and to the mental torture 
that was being created for us. 

" Some day I'll come back here and get even with these dev- 
ils," one of the young Canadians groaned to me, and I could 
only echo his wish. 

The mauled group we watched were finally too weak to re- 
sist and furnish amusement to our captors any longer, so they 
were tied high up on a wire fence and left. We could easily 
surmise what would happen to them in a short time. 

One Canadian could hardly get up again, as his injured leg 
had been resting straight out in front of him and was appar- 
ently in such a condition that it could not be bent. No one 
would help raise him up, so he finally put his arm around my 
shoulders, pulled himself up, and managed to start on once 
more. Not once did either of these boys show one bit of the 
pain or the agony they were experiencing, or let the Japanese 
know that they were suffering. Never will I forget the bravery 
of those young Canadians. 

""We climbed down a long series of steps and were marched 
through a crowded Chinese section, the perfect parade of the 
fall of the great white man in the Far East. Two hundred 
" masters " and " missies " carrying their bags, stumbling along 
in the dust, tired, sick, almost broken. The Chinese stood by 
the hundreds on the sidewalks watching our passing, but there 
was no sign to betray what they were really thinking. Lips 
were dry, heels were blistered, tongues were swollen, skins 
were burning. Many of the babies needed to be changed. It had 
been six hours since we started marching. Exhaustion was 
written in weary lines on every face. 



Il6 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

We could see that the Japs were in full possession of this 
section. Many of the buildings had been shelled, and there 
were abandoned busses and streetcars, and riddled autos left 
in the middle of the road. Some soldiers with us spied one they 
wanted, so after tinkering with it a moment they drove off 
with it. 

About four in the afternoon we drew up in front of the 
headquarters of the Japanese gendarmerie. These are the Ges- 
tapo of Japan, thorough, tough, and ruthless men who have 
authority above almost all others. It is said that when a soldier 
gets too hard for the army, he is transferred to this branch of 
his country's service. 

We were lined up in two columns and left for a long period 
in the ghastly heat. Sometimes we were allowed to squat on the 
filthy pavement for a while, then a different soldier would 
come along and order us to stand. Numerous cameramen took 
the picture of this eventful day in Japan's history, the con- 
quering of their first large group of white prisoners. They did 
not pay much attention to the Chinese men with us. 

I tried to talk to one of the Jap newspapermen, hoping he 
would realize how wrong was the treatment we were receiv- 
ing. He did not say anything, but later walked over to me, gave 
me a small square of chocolate in a rather shamefaced man- 
ner, and hurried away again. I took this to the two Canadians, 
and they seemed to enjoy it, tiny though it was. By this time 
a few of the others of our group had gone to them and given 
them cigarettes and a few crackers they had in their pockets. 

We kept begging for water, at least for the children, but it 
was only after an hour of squatting in the broiling sun that 
they brought buckets of water, two broken glasses for two 
hundred people, and a tray of sugar cubes. 

" There is enough water for one small 1 drink, and one lump 
of sugar each," we were warned. 

I had been feeling sorry for Mrs. Elegant during this long 
trek, for she was not young, she had fallen once, and she had 
lost her splendid home and background, so necessary to create 



"SILENT NIGHT, HOLY NIGHT" [117 

an illusion of grandeur for women of this type. But all my an- 
tagonism came flooding back as she managed to get to the 
bucket first, and before even the sick children had a chance, 
she had five glasses of water! Then she grabbed two dozen 
lumps of sugar and put them in her pockets and walked off! 
I nearly choked with anger. 

From time to time the Japs would take off one or another of 
us for questioning, and several times they skpped members of 
our party. At another time they lined us up two deep and stood 
in front of us with fixed bayonets as though we were about 
to be shot. 

Finally they singled out the two leaders, Major Manners and 
Mr. Shields, and told them they would have to take another 
peace offer to the British Governor; that they must pass 
through the lines that night and be back with an answer by 
.noon the next day. They left us about six o'clock, and our 
hearts went with them. 

Just as dusk was dropping, we were marched to a near-by 
looted paint factory. The stairs were so covered with debris 
they had to be shoveled out before we could ascend. The Chi- 
nese men were ordered to file into the rooms on the second 
floor. The rest of us were sent to the third and fourth floors, 
so many into one room, so many into the next men, women, 
and children dumped in unceremoniously. 

The place was vilely dirty, and the sanitary conditions in- 
describable. Stjiff was strewn all over the floors, and most of 
the pieces of furniture had been smashed. 

I found a place on the floor, jammed in between Mrs. Man- 
ners, who had a chair, and some man who also had to lie on 
the dirty floor on the other side of me. My feet were up on 
Miss Matheson's kp, as she sat in front of me, and I was glad 
to get even that small part of me away from the filthy cement. 

Darkness dropped down and there was one small candle 
that would not last very long. Night came, and with it sweep- 
ing memories- For this was Christmas Eve 1941. 



Chapter XII 

''Like Christmas We Used 
to Know" 



G 



4HRISTMAS has always meant a lot to us at home, and so 
my mind went skipping across the seas to my mother and fa- 
tier, and to my Aunt Sybil, who always shared the holidays 
with us. I knew that very soon the news Hong Kong had fallen 
was going to flash out, and I hated to think what that would 
mean to diem. Coming at this holiday season seemed to make 
it worse. 

Christmas Eve was always the time Dad brought home the 
Christmas tree, the tallest and most beautifully shaped one he 
could find. Then we'd all trim it, and it was a glorious thing 
when we were finished. Our presents were not expensive ones, 
but they were always wrapped up in white tissue paper, tied 
with red and green ribbons, and much love. 

I could imagine that on this evening back home, while I was 
looking out into the night lighted only by occasional gun 
flashes, they were reading my letters about Yuletide in far 
countries during other years. Now I, too, remembered them. 

There was my Noel in Paris . . . the stores with their gay 
electric light displays that extended across the front of the 
buildings, die red-faced French children and their mamas and 
papas watching the animated shows in the windows, the boule- 

118 



" LIKE CHRISTMAS WE USED TO KNOW " [119 

yards bustling with preparations and happiness. And midnight 
service at Notre Dame in the dear, brilliant cold of a Paris win- 
ter night. 

There was the one spent in Singapore, where it seemed so 
unlike Christmas because of die tropical climate. But someone 
sent all the way to England for a Christinas tree, and we had 
turkey and all the " trimmings " too that year. 

Then there was the story of Christmas in Sweden, with the 
hustle and bustle for weeks ahead in every home, making cook- 
ies specially shaped by molds that had been in the families for 
generations, wrapping gifts with a verse for everyone, enjoy- 
ing the celebration ending with the crowning of Santa Lucia, 
Christmas dawning, and " the Feast of a Thousand Candles " 
in snow-covered churches on pine-covered hills. 

Two years ago it was Christmas in Honolulu in the home of 
Dr. Marie and Dr. Bob Faus, and Helen Burton of Peking was 
there, and a dozen others from all the world's corners. At mid- 
night the Hawaiian singers came and stood by the sea, singing 
Christmas carols in those beautiful birdlike voices of the is- 
lands . . . and someone danced an ancient dance that symbol- 
ized joy and happiness on this earth. 

I thought of all these in contrast with die night I was now 
spending, as one views one's past while drowning, for I felt I 
was going down under a huge, engulfing flood as the Japs 
swarmed to victory. 

It was such a sad litde Christmas Eve that the Nipponese 
were forcing on us ... sad and terrible and frightening. We 

that they would fail to recognize any of the decencies and tra- 
ditions of other people on earth. I believe that in the last war in 
Europe they even stopped fighting long enough in the trenches 
to remember Christmas, and visited back and forth across no 
man's land. But the Japs ware using this day to subject us to 
humiliation such as few American and British people have ever 
suffered. 
At ten o'clock one Jap officer, less callous than die others, 



120 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

brought a few cans of beef and some crackers our first food 
in thirty-two hours. As he left he bowed and wished us a 
" Merry Christmas." We had wondered if the Japs realized this 
was our hallowed day of Christ. Now we knew. 

Early in the evening a group of Jap newspapermen had ar- 
rived to interview some of the leading Britishers, and I have 
often wondered how they described this group of weary, dirty, 
hungry prisoners. 

Finally our lone candle was blown out, and we welcomed 
the blackness that would cover what was written on our faces. 
From time to time a shell would scream out its song of hate, 
and now and then the room was lighted by falling flares. 

This, then, was Christmas Eve 1941. 

We had said nothing to one another about it until now, but 
we all knew what the next person was thinking. So we faced 
the facts. We were prisoners of the Japanese, but nothing 
could change the fact that it was still Christmas. 

So we began to sing: " Silent Night, Holy Night. . . ." 

Someone began to sob, and our voices broke. 

Another person told an amusing story of a happier Christ- 
mas, but that was worse. . 

We tried again, some of the old English Christmas carols. 
We faltered through a few of them. . . . 

Someone with a lovely soprano voice began to sing softly: 
" O little town of Bethlehem . . ." but a shell crashed near 
by, wiping out the sound of those poignant words. 

Midnight . . . and it was Christmas Day. 

One o'clock, two o'clock. No one slept. Someone singing, 
someone sobbing. 

One woman, groping for some water, took the wrong turn- 
ing in the darkness and crashed down half a flight of stone 
steps, cutting her head and knees. We brought her back, and 
she took the painful and frightening experience without a 
whimper* She was Mrs. M. A. Minhinnick, wife of an officer 
of the Royal Navy. 

Always we knew that the person next to us was thinking of 



" LIKE CHRISTMAS WE USED TO KNOW " [ 121 

home ... in English villages or in London ... in small 
American towns or great American cities. Of other Christ- 
mases, of friends, of fun, of families. 

Our only consolation was that our beloved ones could not 
dream of the heartbreaking situation in which we found our- 
selves, of the complete heardessness and ruthlessness of the 
Jap soldiers. 

Dawn came. " Merry Christmas! " 

We knew the factory was horribly dirty even by candle- 
light, but daylight brought new nauseating revelations. We 
began to dean the pkce and put it in order. Part of our quar- 
ters had been the home of the Chinese resident manager and 
his family, and their things were ripped apart and spread over 
the entire section. There was a photograph album, filled with 
the record of a Chinese life, from the black-eyed baby, through 
childhood events, and on to the University of Southern CkH- 
fornia and to Oxford. In what had been die children's nursery 
were broken toys, one of which I managed to fix together 
to take to Derek, Jo Greenland's small son, for a Christmas 
gift. 

About ten o'clock buckets of a sort of thin Japanese vege- 
table stew arrived, with tea, both of which were welcome and 
revitalizing. We could find only a few broken bowls and cups, 
but these were passed around among us. Mr. Dankwerth of- 
fered Mrs. Elegant some tea in a broken cup, and she glared 
at him: " How dare you oJSfer me anything in a holder of that 
sort! " 

Some of the men cleaned up the stinking kitchen and boiled 
some water. The roof below our floor was virtually carpeted 
with articles thrown out of the windows by the looters sat- 
ins, furniture, papers, clothes, silk. 

From our windows, most of them only jagged remnants of 
glass, we could see many things which told us more and more 
of the Japanese occupation and its extent. In one yard just 
below were dozens of army mules, some of them being cur- 
ried, some lifted up in slings while their feet were being reshod. 



122 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

and we could see Japanese soldiers bathing in big tubs of 
water. 

We could look up and down the harbor, and it was utterly 
sad to see the devastation there. But the thing we watched 
most was the constant coming and going of ferries and small 
boats at North Point, near us, with an uninterrupted flow of 
activity. Troops, ammunition, guns, and supplies, all moving 
into Hong Kong without the slightest attempt of the British 
to stop them. It was unbelievable that this place, which was 
the narrowest stretch of water connecting the mainland and 
the island, should not have been under constant fire and bom- 
bardment from our guns. But the ferries were running bad 
and forth as regularly as they did in peace-time, bringing the 
conquering Japanese and their supplies ashore. 

I took pictures of all these things from the windows, hid- 
ing my activities even from those in our group, for I knew that 
my cameras worried them for fear the Japanese would see me 
and make trouble for everyone. 

Over Kowloon was a ballooning yellow-black cloud, desig- 
nating the burning of some large godowns and an oil instal- 
lation. 

We waited anxiously for the return of Mr. Shields and Ma- 
jor Manners, who arrived at twelve o'clock. The Japanese 
were angry because, they said, the men were an hour late. Al- 
though it was only twelve by our watches, it was now one by 
Tokyo time and as far as the Japs were concerned, this was 
now their territory and the time was Nipponese. 

Just before the arrival of the two, a large shell hit deafen- 
ingly in the next empty lot, and a number of people who had 
gone to the roof for the sunlight scurried back to cover. The 
emissaries stood at the bottom of the steps, and everyone gath- 
ered on the various flights of stairs while the words of the Gov- 
ernor's edict floated up the hallways. 

" We arrived in time for breakfast with the Governor," was 
the gist of this report. " We told him what we had seen, how 
much territory the Japanese control, the state of things over 



" LIKE CHRISTMAS WE USED TO KNOW " [ 123 

half the island as we saw it. We have told him of what hap- 
pened to us, and what is probably ahead for us. The peace 
terms of the Japanese were extended, but were refused. The 
war will go on." 

The news was greeted in silence. Then some of the British 
people nodded and said: " Of course. We can never surrender 
to the Japs." Such belief is pitiful when it is not backed up by 
sound governmental and military preparation. I hope Amer- 
ica learns, before it is too late, that belief in our national su- 
premacy and our ability to produce, is not enough. Far from 
enough. 

The two men from the peace mission looked tired and de- 
pressed, for theirs had really been a harrowing and hazardous 
experience. Mr. Shields told me about it later. They had left 
us about six o'clock, too late to cross through the lines that 
night, so they had gone into a caf 6 on the edge of the Jap-con- 
trolled territory and had tried to rest there. Finally someone 
found a place for them to sleep, but Japanese gendarmes kept 
shining electric torches in their eyes all night. 

They were given a white banner to carry and went through 
the Japanese Hne, through a no man's land, and into British 
defended territory. This was all a matter of a few blocks, and 
since the British did not know of the coining of the mission, the 
chances that Major Manners and Mr. Shields would be fired 
upon were great. This was particularly true because of the 
fact that after the second peace mission sent by the Japanese, 
the Governor, Sir Mark Young, had announced that no fur- 
ther peace parties would be considered, and there would never 
be surrender. The wording had indicated that any such group 
in the future would be shot on sight, and that such things were 
all useless gestures on the part of the Japanese. 

The British soldiers could hardly believe in the arrival of 
these two well-known Hong Kong men from out of the Jap- 
anese lines, but they were promptly identified, and were taken 
to Government House, where a Christmas breakfast was be- 
ing served. 



124 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

The Governor consulted members of the Military Com- 
mand, but all agreed that surrender was impossible. They even 
indicated, I believe, that all we had seen could hardly be pos- 
sible, and that the landing of the Japanese troops at will was 
not important. " We can take care of that at any rime." 

Surrender actually did come kte that afternoon. What 
changed the balance in the meantime is not yet known. Per- 
haps the facts Mr. Shields and the major revealed brought so- 
berer thought and a more serious analysis after the two had 
returned. 

The men brought back with them a copy of the South China 
Morning Post, the Christmas Day issue, and we read it with 
interest, mixed with amusement and sorrow. While we were 
undergoing all of these harrowing experiences, apparently oth- 
ers in Hong Kong had carried on in somewhat their usual way, 
for the headline read: " Day of Good Cheer." 

The story said: "Hong Kong is observing the strangest 
and most sober Christmas in its century-old history. Such mod- * 
est celebrations as are arranged today will be subdued, with an 
eye to Japanese opportunism, but they will be none the less 
high-hearted on that account. 

" For the first time in years Wyndham Street has lacked its 
stock of ready-to-erect Christmas trees; when people thrust 
at shop doors or stood in lines yesterday they were seeking, 
not gift trinkets, but bread or rice; and the steady crackle and 
buzz which attended all shopping, had a more deadly source 
than die peacetime cracker and die party racket. 

" However, if yesterday's shopping was confined to neces- 
sities and there was little gift planning, friends remembered to 
toast each other in moderation at the city hotels, which 
were crowded toward sundown. Beards were budding, and 
'only* suits salvaged from Kowloon were looking a bit 
scrubby, but all were cheerful in the knowledge that, for all 
their present hardships, they would not go either hungry or 
thirsty this Christmas." (We had gone both hungry and 
thirsty!) 



" LIKE CHRISTMAS WE USED TO KNOW " [ 125 

" There was a pleasant interlude at the Parisian Grill shortly 
before it closed last night when a Volunteer pianist in for a 
spot of food before going back to his post, played some well 
known favorites in which all present joined with gusto. . . " 

But it was the messages of the House of Commons and the 
Governor of Hong Kong on which our attention was focused. 
" Speaking on behalf of all members of the House of Com- 
mons, a Member stated yesterday that the admiration of the 
civilized world was centered on the courage and endurance of 
the British, Canadian and Indian troops comprising the Hong 
Kong garrison. He asked the garrison to hold on, and said that 
every day was important to complete the plans to finish off the 
enemy of civilization. He ended by saying: * May God bless 
you and be with you forever. May God strengthen you.* " 

The Governor of Hong Kong had issued this Christmas 
message to the people of the colony: " In pride and admiration 
I send my greetings this Christmas Day to all who are fighting 
and to all who are working so nobly and so well to sustain 
Hong Kong against the assault of the enemy. Fight on. Hold 
fast for King and Empire. God bless you all in this your finest 
hour. Mark Young, Governor." 

But the final straw on our overloaded backs was die item 
which read: 

" The paper [War Express] also states that a kte report on 
December 23 said that all Japanese troops in the Repulse Bay 
area had been cleaned up by 8 p on. on that day." 

Such incredible misinformation, as we stood there exhausted, 
hungry, dirty, prisoners of the all-conquering Japs, left us 
speechless. 



Chapter Xffl 

Rape and Death 



Nc 



I O sooner had we cleaned up our part of the looted Duro 
paint factory than we were ordered to move. Forever after, 
in our discussions, this was dubbed the " Duro Hotel.'* 

The Chinese men were left behind, and they were all jammed 
sadly in the windows as we departed, neither of us knowing 
what was going to happen from then on. Actually the Japa- 
nese later seemed to forget about these Chinese; they did not 
bring them food, but did not object when they sent numbers 
of their group out to buy what small amounts they could in 
the neighborhood. At the end of a week they just walked away 
one day, drifted back into Hong Kong, and no effort was 
made to stop them. 

Our fate was more unhappy. At one o'clock we were told 
to go outside, where some trucks awaited us. We were glad 
not to do more walking, as almost everyone's feet were throb- 
bing from the trek of the day before. We were herded in, 
standing up, and the Japanese drivers drove like fury, while 
Japanese soldiers stood guard on the back of the conveyances. 

One of them motioned to me to remove a large square bkck 
onyx ring I wear, and I bade it a quick mental good-by. He 
looked inside and returned it to me. That happened a number 
of times in the following months, and I decided they expected 
to find a secret compartment inside. Suspicious little men, those 

126 



RAPE AND DEATH [ 127 

Japs. But only because that is die way they themselves oper- 
ated in our country and in England before the war. 

There was a tremendous amount of damage done by shells 
in the section through which we were going, in which there 
had been street-by-street fighting in the early part of the Japs' 
landing. Big shell-holes had made porous pieces of cheese out 
of many buildings, and there were abandoned cars and trucks 
everywhere. Some of the electric wires were down, and we 
had to duck a number of times, as they came close to our 
heads, to escape decapitation. At moments the decaying smell 
of uncared-for dead rose from the streets in nauseating waves. 

The Chinese were going on about their lives as usual, as far 
as we could see. They were bringing pails to get water out of 
emergency spring outlets, and were trying to buy food in the 
small markets and little shops that had dared to stay open. Most 
stores were afraid of looters, and were heavily boarded up. 

Japanese soldiers and officers were everywhere and watched 
our tracks with much glee. Often they would shout to the 
soldiers who were guarding us, and I was glad I did not speak 
Japanese. 

We were unloaded on a large dock, heavily guarded. Near 
by was the Taikoo Sugar Company, a huge structure that had 
been badly bitten by the shelling. We learned later that there 
had been vigorous fighting there. 

It was in this district that a friend had worked with the St. 
Johns Ambulance Corps during die war. She was the one who 
had tried on December 18 to tell Sir Mark Young, the Gov- 
ernor, of all die Jap troops she had seen landed at diis point. 
Their hospital became an outpost and then was surrounded. 
Serving there were British, Chinese, French, American, and 
Russian doctors and nurses. 

The Japs lined them all up and were obviously about to 
shoot them when a Japanese medical officer intervened, and 
the women were removed from die lines and ordered to start 
marching. As they looked back they saw die British doctors 
trying to escape by fighting off the Japanese bayonets with 



128 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

their bare hands, but they were all killed by either the slicing 
blades or gunfire. 

" To hell with them," she said to me in somber ferocity, as 
memories overwhelmed her. " The dirty murderous animals. 
To hell with every one of them! " 

This friend later escaped, hid in the attic of a convent for 
many days, and finally was rescued by a Red Cross ambulance. 
Everyone's life was full of peril these days, and the escape of 
some was miraculous. 

As we waited for a ferry to take us across to the mainland 
and Kowloon, we could see the Japanese unloading box after 
box after box. One man with military knowledge estimated 
that during the time we stood there, eighty tons of dynamite 
were taken off the small boats! That's a lot of death in any 
language. 

Troops arrived, and were marched off. One group of obvi- 
ously important officers and attendants came amidst much sa- 
luting, with shiny boots, white gloves, and braid. I could not 
see their faces, but later found that this was again Colonel 
Tada of the peace mission, en route to submit the final peace 
offer. Peace terms were not really offered; it was stated that if 
Hong Kong did not surrender it would be completely leveled 
and made into rubble. Having observed the Jap guns secure 
range on all strategic objects, knowing that many of the Brit- 
ish big guns had been silenced and that there was no air de- 
fense, I believe this could have been done by continuously 
pounding the city from the air, and from the Kowloon side 
with the large guns the Japs had in position there. In addition, 
the city was in a desperate state owing to lack of water and 
the handicap of no light. There was also a nervous Chinese 
population of a million to consider, and there was no escape 
for them, for this, remember, was an island under siege. 

We were finally loaded on a barge and a ferry which had 
been bringing over army mules and which formerly had be- 
longed to one of our party. We landed in a miniature Japan 
oa tie mainland. Countless Jap soldiers, officers, officials, and 



RAPE AND DEATH [ 12 

bystanders watched us. They had taken complete charge c 
the docks, the buildings, the streets. 

Again we were loaded into trucks and paraded throug 
Kowloon. But there were not many Chinese in the streets her 
to watch our ignominious progress, for these people ha< 
learned to their sorrow what the coming of the Japanese Ne\ 
Order meant, and were keeping out of sight. 

The city was obviously fully controlled by the Japs. Th 
ruins of war had been cleaned away, and there were Japanes< 
signs to direct the traffic. There were evidences of harsh fight 
ing, but this was signified by yawning holes, broken windows 
and smashed buildings rather than by debris in the streets. 

Many of the large fine houses along the way were occupie< 
by the Japanese, not only soldiers, but civilians as well. Thej 
stood on their porches and, with wide smirks, watched us g< 
past. One hospital was obviously Japanese, and afterwards w< 
were to hear pitiful tales of what happened when the Britisl 
staffs and wounded were dumped out without warning. 

On almost every building was the flag of the Rising Sun 
Children carried diem, cars wore them, and they were fas 
tened to all public buildings. Abandoned pillboxes which ha< 
been part of the defense plans of Kowloon, virtually unusec 
because of the rapid retreat, had Jap flags flying above them 
The tremendously expensive air-raid shelters, miles of them 
were abandoned. 

We had been told by a gendarme officer that we were beinj 
taken to the Peninsula Hotel, and that we were not prisoner 
of war, but " refugees." We were halted near that hotel, head 
quarters of the Japanese Military Command, while lonj 
conferences went on somewhere. We were parked near the ar 
cade I described in the early part of this book, a fine new de 
velopment with modern shops, which had been called th< 
Chungking Arcade. That sign had already been ripped down 
and the Jap flag put up. 

Finally we were taken to the Kowloon Hotel, a very sec 
ond-rate hostelry behind the Peninsula, and marched tip th< 



130 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

steps, prodded by bayonets. We gathered in the lounge, and 
an officer told us: " You are now prisoners of Japan. Any in- 
fringement of our orders will be punishable by death by mili- 
tary law." 

"Refugees "indeed! 

From four to ten people were then ordered into each room. 
No preparation had been made for our coming, and obviously 
the previous tenants had left on the run. Some rooms had win- 
dows broken by shrapnel, and all were in a disagreeable con- 
dition. 

My roommates turned out to be Mrs. Jean Martin, Mr. 
Marsman, Mr. Wilson, and eighty-three-year-old Mr. Arling- 
ton. Jean and I took one look at the dirt and went to work, 
and when we finished, the place was cleaner than it had been 
for years. We scrubbed everything from the floors to the 
moldings, and washed the dirty sheets, towels, and pillowcases, 
all in cold water, of course. It was wonderful to turn on water 
again, and the first thing we did was to take icy showers. But 
no luxurious Hollywood sunken bath with gold faucets ever 
seemed so wonderful. 

At six the Japanese sent us our Christmas dinner: rice and 
water! This was to be the extent of our rations for several 
weeks, then sometimes almost raw cabbage would be added, 
and on a few days some other unidentified vegetable. But 
ninety-nine per cent of the time it was rice and water. 

We had been in the hotel only a short time when there was 
a tremendous explosion somewhere near us. We did not know 
it then, but that was the last firing of the war, for surrender 
came late Christmas afternoon. 

The garrison had fallen, ttfe city which would never sur- 
render: "the Impenetrable Fortress of the Far East." The 
siege was ended, and Japan had conquered this last outpost of 
the British Empire, the first of her conquests of white men's 
territories. 

Old Mr. Arlington in our room, author of Through the 
Dragon's Eyes, was a marvelous character. Sixty-seven of his 



RAPE AND DEATH [ 

eighty-three years, as I have said, had been spent in China. He 
had been twice around the world in sailing ships, landed in 
Japan in the iSyo's, and gone on to China. He had seen the 
Japs fight in Manchuria, and told of one fortress there sur- 
rounded by a moat which the Russians were holding, but the 
Japs sent wave after wave of soldiers against it. As they were 
shot down, they fell in the rnoat. Then another wave would 
come, and the performance be repeated, until the moat was 
filled level with the ground with dead or dying soldiers. The 
next troops marched over them, stormed the fort, and took it, 
That, as Arlington pointed out, was the kind of enemies we are 
fighting, and we should have been forewarned. He had been in 
Hong Kong fifty years before when the British took the New 
Territories and it was a historical coincidence he should be 
here for the Jap victory half a century later. 

Although Arlington was so old, he had ridden horseback, 
swam, and danced until pneumonia had knocked him out the 
year before. Christmas night he made us all laugh and how 
we needed to laugh! by reciting an old Ming pky he had 
translated from the Chinese, called Farming the Grave. It was 
one of the funniest things I've ever heard, and to see this el- 
derly gentleman give this hour-and-a-half performance, sup- 
plying all the gestures, was an amazing experience. 

Strangely enough, I had something to contribute to Christ- 
mas. As soon as we were in our room, I sat down and took 
everything out of my pocketbook to see just what I had left in 
the world. Tucked far bade in the corner of a passport case was 
a Christmas poem of Mother's which had been published the 
year before. It had been in this case for a year and forgotten 
until I brought it to light this strange Christmas night, which 
also turned out to be Jean's birthday. 

There was a wild scramble in the hotel to secure whatever 
supplies we could. Such independent foraging became, in our 
emergency parlance, " scrounging/' and anyone, who suc- 
ceeded in these activities became famous as being a good 
"scrounger." Some learned more quickly than others that on 



132 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

the floor above us were empty rooms, and so managed to get 
enough supplies to take care, meagerly, of die occupants of 
their chambers. Mr. Marsman located an extra mattress and a 
few blankets; I found a couch, which I fixed for Mr. Arling- 
ton on a little porch, but most of the time it was too cold for 
him there and he had to sleep on the floor with the rest of us. 

The nights were bitter at this time of year, and the one 
blanket which covered each one was far from adequate, I had 
only a light summer coat, but I found a long Chinese robe, in 
which I used to sleep. The others had heavy winter coats, 
which they used as blankets also. 

Our room was about eight feet square, but it had a tiny ter- 
race that we thought would make up for the lack of space. 
The Japanese, however, soon made us paste newspapers over 
the door, and ordered us to keep off the porch, so that ended 
that little pleasure. It also made our room so dark it was nec- 
essary to use electricity during the day. 

In fact, everyone was ordered to cover the windows with 
newspapers. We were informed we would be shot if anyone 
was caught looking out. It seems that the Japanese officers in 
the Peninsula Hotel across the street didn't like to see us look- 
ing at them. The cats couldn't even look at the kings! 

We thought our Christmas Day was a sad one, but it was as 
nothing to die one being spent at Fort Stanley, where the sol- 
diers who had left us at Repulse Bay had gone. Many of them 
swam two miles during that eventful night, while others 
crawled along the beach on hands and knees or went up over 
rocky, dangerous paths in the hills. 

Fort Stanley sat on the highest peak on a peninsula so that 
it might be master of all it surveyed. At the edge of this sec- 
tion was the little Chinese fishing village of Stanley. Above on 
the hills was Maryknoll Mission, occupied by many Catholic 
priests. The ascent was precipitous, and reminiscent of the ter- 
raced mountainsides of Italy. 

After capturing Repulse Bay Hotel and that area, the Japs 
fought on toward this sector, and the battle began to rage 



RAPE AND DEATH -[ 133 

through the hills. The trained mountam-clmbing soldiers of 
Nippon were again at an advantage, and their knowledge of 
the terrain was still evident. 

From their vantage point high on the hills, the Maryknoll 
fathers were able to watch the fighting, and the tricks of the 
Japs. I was fortunate enough to find the diary of a priest from 
up-country China which told the story of their experiences. 
At first there was incredulity at the coming of the Japs, and 
then they gave hours to prayer for the Allied soldiers. The 
fighting was still miles away from their peaceful mission, but 
the fathers went into Hong Kong for news. 

Then the fighting came to this side of the island, to Aber- 
deen, Repulse Bay, on toward Fort Stanley, and the mission 
was in the path of the forces. " At night the reverberations of 
the guns shook our building, broke some windows, and smashed 
some glasses. . . . Some of us moved into the hall to sleep. To- 
ward dawn we realized we had all been awake all night. . . . 
Guns have been set up on emplacements near by, and the bat- 
*de is going to engulf the mission. . . . The firing is constant, 
*and the noise is deafening." 

In time the British tide receded, and the Japanese washed 
over them. " The Jap soldiers tied us together, marched us 
down a gully near by. We saw them with a group of British 
soldiers who had surrendered, several who had been in the mis- 
sion. They were bayoneted by the Jap soldiers, and some of 
our men had to watch the whole thing. . . . 

" We were put in an icy cold garage, still tied. None of us 
had warm enough clothes, or any food. Some Japs came to the 
window and spit on us. Another promised some water for a 
gold watch. We thought he would bring water enough for 
each of us. Instead he brought a canteen for all, which meant 
one sip apiece. We had to -take turns lying down, for the space 
was so small." 

Even the robes of religion have no meaning to the soldiers of 
the Rising Sun, although the Vatican has retained friendly re- 
lations with Japan despite the war. 



134 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Then I saw the diary of Syd Skelton, 663742 Royal Rifles 
of the Canadian Overseas Axmy, written to Miss Helen Barn- 
brook of Toronto. This was found months after peace, behind 
a picture in St. Stephen's College, which was used as an emer- 
gency hospital. It had originally been found beside an empty 
bed on December 27 by one of his wounded friends, a brother 
of Roy Nicol of Quebec, the note said. This man hid it behind 
the picture in the hope it would be found after the Japanese 
left St. Stephen's, but it was not discovered for four months. 

The diary told of his arrival on November 16 on the trans- 
port with die first contingent of Canadians, and of his early 
days in the colony, the start of war, and his daily part in it 
always with a thread of thought running back to his home and 
to his sweetheart. 

There was a medical card stating that Skelton had a sub- 
stantial gunshot wound in the thigh and was being treated. 
There were also a number of the Japanese pamphlets which 
had been thrown down from the planes, and which had ap- 
parently amused die young soldier. 

Beside the picture of the smiling girl was the picture of a 
charming old lady. It was all symbolic of a soldier's life 
fighting, fighting, hurt, sometimes death, but always a thought 
of home and loved ones running as an undercurrent through 
the horror. 

It was impossible to take the diary with me, as the Japs for- 
bade us to bring away one word of communication, but it is 
being held by friends for Miss Bambrook until the day when 
it can be safely sent to her. It was impossible to find out if the 
wounded soldier had been transferred to military camp or 
what had happened to him, for the Japs refused to give any 
information to friends or families about the captured British 
soldiers. 

The diary which cut into my heart die deepest was written 
by a young soldier, eighteen years old, who was fighting in one 
of the bungalows at Stanley while die Japs were blasting 
away at it from near by. 



RAPE AND DEATH [ 135 

" What is it all about? Death and blood all around me, and 
beauty outdoors. . . . They just got my pal Jack next to 
me. We were talking, when suddenly a shell made a mess of 
him, and I got a bite of shrapnel. Can I stand it? ... Today 
is Mother's birthday. I wonder if she is thinking of me. I am 
glad she can't see me, and know what I'm doing. Happy 
birthday, Mother. . . . Noise all around me. They are com- 
ing closer. How horrible the shells sound! Oh God, it doesn't 
seem that I can stand it any longer. . . " 

And here the diary ended. 

There was a football field at the foot of the high hill on 
which stood St. Stephen's College, and here the Japanese were 
killed by the thousand as they tried to cross it to storm the 
hills. But again, as in the New Territories, wave after wave of 
them came, ignoring their dead, always advancing over their 
bodies a little farther. " They keep coming! They keep com- 
ing!" The British suffered heavy losses also, and on Janu- 
ary 25, when all this ground over which the battle flamed 
Became our concentration camp, there were still British bodies 
lying about, for the Japanese refused ever to bury the British 
dead. The bodies of their own soldiers were always quickly 
removed and cremated, so the little white boxes could go back 
to the shrines in Japan. In one of the bungalows there were 
eighteen British dead when the internees arrived, for the fight- 
ing had gone on hand to hand through each building. It was 
a scene of horror, and the glory was only for those who died 
fighting for their country. I am sure that most of the soldiers 
would have preferred this to ignominious surrender, with the 
march to military camps as helpless prisoners of the Japs until 
the war is over. 

The following story was told to me by one of the nurses 
who went through the worst of all experiences at St. Stephen's. 
She told it undramatically and methodically, but there were 
bkck circles under her eyes, and her thin, nervous hands, 
which kept knitting the air, give hints of the inner turmoil that 
retelling it occasioned. I hesitated a long time to ask her to 



136 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

live through the hours again with me, but I felt that I must 
have the story direct from one who knew every damnable 
second of it And obviously she felt that it must be told, 
exactly and correctly, so that those who do not come dose to 
the Japanese can know what sort of men they are. 

No woman on earth is going to tell of being gang-raped by 
enemy soldiers unless it -is imperative, and only die bravest 
would be willing to tell her story to the world. I marveled at 
the inner strength which made her able to answer my most 
searching questions, and yet I sensed all through it the per- 
spective which she had taken of the blackening experience: 
she was a soldier at her post; she had suffered grievous wounds 
which would leave scars on her soul forever, but she had gone - 
through this in line of duty, and she had done her part withoifc, 
fear or failure, just as would any brave soldier. 

I checked and rechecked every detail of this story; it has 
been attested to by soldiers who were present and by those 
who lived through it. This is no vague " atrocity story "; this 
is stark truth. I give it to you as one of the most dastardly anoh 
blackest pages of Japanese history ranking with the rape of 
Nanking. 

" It was six ajn. of Christmas morning that the Japs came 
to St. Stephen's,'* the nurse said. "We had established an 
emergency hospital here in the auditorium and the balcony. 
There were cots, but many of the wounded lay on the floor. 
A big Red Cross flag was over the doorway. Some Canadian 
soldiers, exhausted, stopped for a minute to warn us the Japs 
were coming with their Bren and Lower guns, and stumbled on. 

" Colonel Dr. Black, who was in charge, went to meet the 
Japs. He stepped to the door, put his arms across it, and said, 
pointing to die Red Cross: 'This is a hospital, and only 
wounded are here/ 

"The Japanese, without hesitation or further examination, 
bayoneted Dr. Black." The girl stopped a minute as her mem- 
ory unwound the ghastly picture. " Then they stepped over 



Chapter XIV 

Hatred and Heroism 



JLlIFE 



does go on, no matter how strenuous the circum- 
stances, and human nature bobs up at its best and its worst at 
the slightest of provocations. Here we were, a group of five 
hundred people, herded into a small hotel, under the ex- 
tremest of conditions, conquered citizens under the heavy 
hand of our most hated enemy, without the barest of necessi- 
ties, much less luxuries, hungry, stripped of homes, wealth, 
background. No wonder nerves were tense as tightened violin 
strings, and no wonder that fidgety players made dire twangs 
and discords as time went on. 

The Japanese gendarmes didn't add to our comfort, for 
they are the lowest type of sadistic human animal yet extant. 
Somehow the boots on Japanese soldiers invariably seem too 
large for them; maybe they really are made that way so they 
won't wear out so quickly; anyway, it always appeared as 
though these boots were leading die soldiers. Those who 
guarded our hotel loved their bayonets with the devotion of 
dogs for their masters, and kept them shiny and bright, and 
out ready for use at all times. 

These men would tramp up and down wooden steps, each 
one sounding like a miniature army. The only good thing 
about this was that we could hear diem coming four flights 
away, and so jump for the cover of our rooms. One of the 
rules our kind caretakers had laid down was that we could 



140 3 PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

not stop to talk to one another in the hallways, where we went 
to get a little exercise. 

As die gendarmes passed, they would swing so that the tips 
of their bayonets would come within a few inches of our 
bodies or faces. There's something about a bare, carefully 
sharpened bayonet that gives me the crinkliest of creeps up 
and down my spine! 

The first few weeks the Japs came into our rooms every 
hour or two to take roll call. Sometimes they would think 
someone was missing, and what excitement that would pro- 
duce! And there was the deuce to pay if one of the occupants 
of the room happened to be out when they came. Again the 
heavy banging boots were our salvation, serving their pur- 
pose as well as any air-raid siren. 

There were a number of unpleasant experiences, such as 
the day the gendarme knocked the hat off the head of elderly 
Mr. Seth, a venerable Jewish gentleman with the gentlest of 
temperaments. The Jap took the tip of his bayonet and threw 
off die hat which Mr. Seth was wearing according to tradition. 

Another time a gendarme stuck a bayonet into the stomach 
of T. B. Wilson, the American President Line manager. He 
just folded his hands in front of him and smiled, and so man- 
aged to save face better than the Jap. 

Another day the soldiers became enraged at an American 
missionary woman. They made her kneel before them in the 
hall, and with their fists forced her to bow her head again and 
again before a large group. 

There was one ugly gendarme we called " Handlebars " be- 
cause of his fierce-looking mustache. When he came into our 
room for inspection, we were told by die accompanying sol- 
diers to salute him. We were always supposed to rise for the 
least of these litde men, but this was our first lesson in bowing. 
Rebellion rises high in your heart at a time like this, but to let 
it overflow and show would only delight our captors, so we 
all concealed it. 

la the room next to us were quartered ten men, some of 



HATRED AND HEROISM [ 14! 

whom were out when the soldiers arrived, and so did not hear 
the order. Through the partition I could hear an awful uproar, 
and a Japanese voice went on and on in shrill vituperation. It 
sounded like a soprano subway going through a tunnel, and 
I was sure someone was going to be hurt. When I heard a slap, 
my heart sank to my shoe soles. Of course, none of the men 
could understand what the long lecture in Japanese was all 
about, but there was no doubt of its fury. The internees all 
stood at attention, and one who had stuffed his pipe in his 
pocket nearly had a blister and a burned pair of trousers be- 
fore it was ended. Finally the Jap storm spent its force and 
went on its way to other rooms. 

Funny things happened, too, and we enjoyed several inci- 
dents. One night, quite late, the gendarmes came to each room, 
banging back the doors and leaving them wide open. We had 
been ordered to bed early, and so we could only lie and freeze 
in die drafts. We managed to understand -that " Handlebars " 
was going to make an inspection tour, starting from the top 
floor where he had taken over a choice room. Time passed, 
and no funny man. The nest day, through our grapevine, we 
were able to learn that " Handlebars" had started down the 
steps, but was so drunk he had fallen the whole first flight, and 
that ended that inspection. 

Another evening the same thing occurred doors were 
banged open and fastened. We waited, and nothing happened, 
so after several hours we closed them and went to sleep. 

This evening, however, something had happened on the 
second floor. A group of soldiers had started from room to 
room, asking for a pair of white gloves. It did not seem possi- 
ble they would find any, but by chance T. B. Wilson had a 
pair in a bag his Chinese boy had sent him, and he gave them 
to the soldiers, who went away very happy. 

The next day a Japanese officer arrived with an interpreter, 
and it was explained that he had been going to a party the 
evening before and found he had no white gloves. Of course 
a Jap officer could not appear without them! The stores were 



142 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

dosed, so the order had been given to search our hotel. The 
officer brought money to pay Mr. Wilson, who refused it, 
with the remark: " I won't be needing my white gloves for a 
little while now, I guess." The Jap officer was embarrassed to be 
so indebted to a prisoner, and yet was so pleased with the 
gloves that he talked for over an hour and went away with 
much bowing and hissed thanks. 

We never knew what time some unpleasant experience 
would happen, and it made everyone tense and often cross, as 
was natural. My favorite enemy, Mrs. Elegant, turned on a 
group of men one night who were watching some new ar- 
rivals going to the floor above us. Her husband was helping 
one woman with a small bundle. 

" How dare you stand there and do nothing, you lazy good- 
for-nothing men, when my poor, sick old husband is helping? * 

I'm sure her husband wasn't grateful for that description, 
and the men had been punished before by Japs for extending 
a helping hand. Mrs. Elegant stated a number of vindictive 
thoughts in a piercing voice, making particularly pointed ones 
about a very fine man with mixed blood, ending with: " You 
dirty wop." 

He looked at her for a minute and quietly said: " You talk 
like a woman from Billingsgate," and walked away, while the 
British people chuckled to hear this expressive phrase regard- 
ing London's worst slum applied to this dowager duchess. 

The former Chinese room boys, now out of jobs, and being 
opportunists, began to bring in extra food for sale. They had 
to give a good share of it to the Japanese gendarmes who 
guarded the. entrance, who considered this to be a rightful 
commission on the sales. 

The boys knew that everyone was desperate and would pay 
almost any price to get food. A few prisoners had a great deal 
of money, which they kept to themselves; and others had from 
nothing to small amounts, which they shared. During the war 
almost everyone had converted what money he had to large 



HATRED AND HEROISM [ 143 

notes, so greater amounts could be easily carried. The Japanese 
government declared these should be cashed at full value, but 
they were never able to enforce that order, even when we left 
Hong Kong six months after war's end. The $100 notes 
brought around $60, and the $50 denominations from $20 
to $30. 

Mr. Marsman and Jean Martin had money, Mr. Arlington 
had traveler's checks, on which he managed to borrow a hun- 
dred dollars, and I had about that amount with which to start. 
(This amounts to nearly $30 in American money.) Mr. Mars- 
man bought extra food, which he shared with us. But there 
were two weeks when I had only the rice and water rations, 
with semi-raw cabbage three times during that period. 

Prices skyrocketed as the Chinese realized what a priceless 
market they had: hungry people who had no other means of 
getting supplies, and who would pay whatever was demanded. 
Coffee cost, in American money, $2.50 a pound; butter, $2; 
a tin of small Vienna sausages, $i; corned beef, $1*25; sar- 
dines, $1.25; small fruit salads, $i; toilet paper, $i. Many peo- 
ple did not have a penny, and they were hungry all of the 
time. I know I was one of them for many weeks. 

Rumors were as regular as dawn, and as varied. The favorite 
one was that Churchill had said that Hong Kong would be re- 
captured in three months. I do not think there were five per 
cent of the British who did not believe this, and who still clung 
to the belief late in June, although the weeks had passed three 
times three many tines over. 

Then Italy had surrendered; Laval was dead; Russia had 
conquered Germany; the Japanese were being forced to aban- 
don Canton. I used to go " rumor-cropping " every morning, 
and there were always strange and wonderful reapings. 

We had been locked up only a few days when the Japanese 
held their big victory celebration in Hong Kong. We man- 
aged to get a few copies of their propaganda newspaper in 
English, and there we learned of the rejoicing (!) of die 



144 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Chinese and Indian citizenry at being freed from English 
bondage, and how they were joining wholeheartedly in the 
gigantic celebration. 

During the afternoon the Japanese sent sixty-two planes 
over the city. They flew back and forth in formation, stunt- 
ing, flying low. They came ripping down low over the harbor, 
and flew high above the peaks. One plane performed the most 
spectacular bit of flying I had seen in years an absolutely 
straight-up spiral, and that takes real flying. I used to fly a 
a plane, and I know. All this took place at almost the exact 
time we had found a recent Reader's Digest in which one well- 
known writer had said that Japan's air force was a joke that 
it would not last ten minutes in the air against real planes 
and that Japanese could not fly, owing to lack of. proper bal- 
ancing sense. Despite Japan's extremely successful demonstra- 
tion to the contrary during the last year, there are still human 
ostriches who like to think that is still true! 

The troops entered Hong Kong with much parading, officers 
on horses, streets lined with soldiers, flags, banners, singing. 
It was the triumphal march of conquering men but they 
were not our soldiers, and the taste of defeat was acid in our 
mouths. 

Almost the saddest sight I have ever seen in my life was that 
of the British soldiers being marched off to military prison 
camp. From a back window in the hotel we took a chance at 
watching the small part we could see of the next street. The 
sidewalks were lined with smirking Japanese soldiers and 
officers, cramming the windows, as well as the streets from shop, 
to curb. The conquered soldiers were marched past the Japa- 
nese military headquarters in the Peninsula Hotel, off to im- 
prisonment " for the duration." 

They had been stripped of insignia, many carried heavy 
packs, some were wounded fine-looking men of the Royal 
Scots* the Royal Navy, the Middlesex, the Royal Winnipeg 
Grenadiers, and the Royal Rifles of Graada men who had 
fought and lost. Many of their comrades had been killed, their 



HATRED AND HEROISM [ 145 

flag had come down, the colony was lost, and the yellow Jap 
nen were marching the whites off in humiliating defeat after 
MIC of the quickest military collapses in history. The soldiers 
lad fought bravely and obeyed orders to the last second. When 
iiey laid down their arms they did it amid nratterings al- 
nost rebellion. In spite of their willingness, governmental and 
nilitary weakness put them on this long, weary road that led 
:o the Jap prison camp. Washington would do well to learn 
iiat it is the quality of leadership, as well as the size and amount 
md equipment of armed forces, that brings victory or 
iefeat. 

Many of the women in the hotel knew that their husbands 
ivere in those lines of saddened men men who were trying 
o hold their heads high before the smug little men with the 
jig guns. But once in a while I would see a head drop to a man's 
:hest for a second, and then with an effort he would raise it 
ligh and march on toward imprisonment. Some of the soldiers 
vere very young seventeen and eighteen and some of them 
arere men in their fifties, Volunteers who had left their desks 
n Hong Kong to take up guns to defend their homes and their 
amilies. Now they were going to pay the price for man's 
effort to preserve the traditions of democratic living. 

I had the telephoto lens on my movie camera and managed 
o get a strip of pictures of this heartbreaking spectacle so men 
ligh in control might some day realize what happens when 
he soldiers who fight for their country and their way of living 
ire defeated because of official shortsightedness of furnish- 
ng too litde, too late. 

Our newspapers carried a story a few weeks ago about these 
lame men. Twelve hundred were being transported from their 
nilitary prison in Hong Kong to Japan. The ship was tor- 
>edoed. The Japs fastened down the hatches and deserted the 
hip, going to another in the convoy. A few British men man- 
iged to break out and found their ship was being towed, but 
#as rapidly sinking. 

Hundreds jumped into the water, trying to escape at any 



146 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

cost. Many were so weakened by their starvation diet that 
they drowned immediately. The Japs machine-gunned the 
others. However, a few escaped and got to Free China to tell 
the story. They estimated that only 300 of the 1,200 would 
reach Japan. Many American women had husbands in that 
camp; they will not know until war's end whether they are 
living. 

We gradually became acquainted with one another in the 
hotel; although we were not supposed to go from floor to 
floor, we sometimes wandered off our preserves. Some who 
had been in charge of the Kowloon hospitals had been ordered 
to leave with their patients in an hour's time. One group of 
nurses was left in a school building for days without foqd or 
water. Finally they tore up a number of books, broke up some 
forniture for a fire, emptied the water in the fishbowl into a 
can, and boiled it so they would not perish of thirst* 

Group after group was rounded up throughout the city 
and dumped into our hotel until it was jammed. Unlucky as we 
were, however, we were better off than those on the Hong 
Kong side. Although they had freedom longer, because they 
were not ordered into internment until January 5, while most 
of us had been captured around December 23, they were in 
even worse surroundings. 

On January 5 the Japanese gendarmerie circulated an order, 
without any previous warning, that all American, British, and 
Dutch civilians must assemble on the Murray Parade Ground 
at ten o'clock that same morning. Some may have anticipated 
such a move, although it was almost unprecedented in inter- 
national history to intern an entire civilian population. 

Approximately three thousand persons, men, women and 
children, gathered from all over Hong Kong, many of them 
having walked down from the high Peak, some having been 
robbed and beaten as they came, and were herded like sheep 
on the grounds. They were then divided into arbitrary groups 
and marched off to a number of native hotels which had just 
been evacuated for this purpose. 



Chapter XV 

Strange Interlude 



LMONG those I found in the Kowloon Hotel was Mrs. 
Lee, the British woman who had been hostage to the Japanese 
on the first peace mission, with her two dogs. Her husband 
was with the Colonial Secretary in Hong Kong, as his sec- 
retary. 

One day word flew around the hotel that Mrs. Lee had been 
sent for by Colonel Tada, the head of the peace mission, who 
was at the Japanese military headquarters across the street. 
Colonel Tada had promised Mrs. Lee, when he took her as 
hostage, that he would see that she was given full protection 
if the Japs took possession of Hong Kong. She took several 
other women with her to the dinner to which she was invited, 
and although some were frightened at going, they felt they 
must obey orders. 

Everything went smoothly, and they enjoyed good food, 
hearing music, and getting away from our dreary prison. 

While they were at dinner, Mrs. Lee told the Japanese officer 
that I, too, was interned in the same hotel He remembered my 
taking pictures and said he would like to invite me to dinner 
some time, all of which Mrs. Lee reported to me. 

Within a few days an invitation arrived: " To the Ameri- 
can young kdy cameraman. I would like for you to come to 
dinner. I am very busy, but will arrange in few short days 
for your coming to Peninsrda J3otel. Tada.'* 



152 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Eventually word of the day set was brought by a gendarme, 
who looked very impressed by a prisoner's receiving word 
from his military headquarters. An escort was sent for Mrs. 
Lee and myself; it was Mr. Othsu, another of the Japanese who 
had been with the mission, a member of the Intelligence De- 
partment. He was a man who had traveled over most of the 
world in the course of his work, and spoke excellent English. 
He had been the liaison man between the Japanese and the 
British governments in Hong Kong over all border problems 
at the edge of the New Territories, and I had observed during 
the course of die parley that he was well known by Major 
Boxer, the British officer. 

This was almost a month after we had been shut up in the 
hotel, and the first time I had walked farther than up and down 
the hall during all those weeks. I was weak from lack of food, 
and could hardly descend the four flights of stairs and walk 
across the road to the other hotel, and I didn't hesitate to say 
so. The air seemed like a marvelous perfume, and I took deep 
breaths of it, rejoicing in being allowed five minutes in my 
beloved outdoors. 

The Peninsula Hotel, which has always been an English 
social center, was now filled with Japanese. The back entrance, 
through which we went, was surrounded by a curved sand- 
bag barricade, with a Jap soldier on duty. 

We were taken to one of the smaller social rooms, and here 
was a treat for the eyes of a beaten-down prisoner of war. 
There was a large table with a beautiful arrangement of flow- 
ers in the center, loaded with tea things. (Our invitation had 
been changed from dinner to tea, which disappointed us, be- 
cause we wanted the food.) At one side was another table 
with, bottles of all sorts of wines, liquors, and liqueurs, all the 
finest liquid loot of the city. 

In a few minutes Colonel Tada arrived, with two other 
Japanese officers. One spoke good English and had served in 
America at one time. The other spoke French, but no English. 
He carried a Japanese-American phrase-book and used it from 



STRANGE INTERLUDE [ 153 

time to time. Once, when I had been quiet for several minutes, 
he pointed out these words: " A penny for your thoughts." 

I searched through the book and handed it back indicating 
the phrase: "All things pass with time." He looked at me 
questioningly and then began to laugh. After all, he was the 
conqueror at this particular moment and could afford to smile 
at my insinuation that some day things might be drastically 
different. 

I am sure I made a very big pig of myself during tea, for I 
was virtually starved. I ate twelve tea sandwiches, had five 
cups of tea, and three very fine pastries, but only one small 
glass of sherry. I told Colonel Tada about old Mr. Arlington, 
whom he dubbed my "eighty-three-year-old baby." I took 
the occasion to explain that this brilliant writer was dying be- 
cause of having to sleep on the floor, without proper cover- 
ing, and with not enough food. I asked if I might have permis- 
sion to get a separate room where I could try to take better 
care of this aged American, because Dr. Smalley had told me 
that day that Mr. Arlington would not live another week unless 
he was given special attention. Colonel Tada agreed and prom- 
ised to send wordxm to the Kowloon Hotel. 

During the peace mission the colonel had not spoken any 
English, and did not this day, until he had several drinks, and 
then he spoke almost perfect English. Many Japanese do this, 
because they think that it admits the superiority of the English 
language if they have to use it, and that in the future all people 
must learn to speak Jajfcnese. 

" I was very impressed that day in Hong Kong when you 
took our pictures under fire. You did not know if we thro$ 
hand-grenades. You remain at your work. You did not show 
fear." 

" You're wrong," I replied. " I was shaking so I could hardly 
click the shutter." 

" Then much more brave. Nevertheless you remain at post. 
Japanese admire courage very much." 

As I looked around the table, I gasped internally at die in- 



154 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

credibility of the situation. Mrs. Lee and I, Jap prisoners, 
chatting with our conquerors as though we were peace-time 
guests! I decided to take what the gods were offering an in- 
quisitive reporter and to ferret out every single thing I could 
from the Japanese mind, trying to understand the psychology 
which motivates them. 

I have been asked many times why I think this colonel, head 
of the Military Intelligence in Hong Kong, extended me any 
courtesies. I cannot explain it. If anyone on earth can analyze 
why the Japs do certain things, or act a certain way, they are 
better than all our State Department, military, and naval in- 
formation experts put together. Personally I think this Jap 
officer was highly amused at finding an American woman in 
the midst of the war, in a British colony, happening to be on 
the right spot at the right time. 

That is war you turn one corner and you are killed, or 
you turn another and you run into the greatest of good luck. 
Taking pictures on the waterfront the morning of December 
13 brought me good fortune, which led to this unique experi- 
ence of meeting the Japanese and being able to get their point 
of view under these extraordinary circumstances. 

(Perhaps you'll remember reading that Larry Allen, cap- 
tured AP correspondent, demanded an interview with General 
Rommel, which startled the Germans no end. Reporters' in- 
satiable curiosity can't be stifled by mere imprisoament! ) 

Just as our military experts take apart captured Jap Zero 
planes to see what makes them go, I felt I should take the 
Jap minds apart, if possible, to analyze their reasoning. In 
warfare the workings of men's minds are as important as their 
weapons. Since Japan is short on materials and machines, it 
has been the strength of her military minds that has brought 
her such incredible victories. Maybe I could locate some weak- 
nesses. 

After all, the war was over in Hong Kong, the Japs were 
victors, and they could afford to be nice to those they encoun- 
tered, like throwing scraps to beggars from a bounteous table. 



STRANGE INTERLUDE [ 155 

In most conquered pkces in the world no civilians would 
be interned except known government agents, and actually 
neither I nor any of the British, Americans, or Dutch should 
have been held. 

At one point Colonel Tada went into a long dissertation 
about Greek and Roman civilization, how it changed from 
time to time, with the inference, of course, that now Japan was 
going to take charge of the history of the world, and our era 
of white influence has ceased. 

At length he asked me: " What do you think of your much 
vaunted American navy now? " with a smile. 

I tried to kugh as I said: "You stand there virtually with a 
bayonet in my stomach and ask me that question! You're ob- 
viously a student of history; youVe been quoting historians 
of centuries ago. In time historians will write of this war more 
clearly than we can see it now. Let's make a date for twenty- 
five years from now to talk about my navy and your plan of 
conquest." 

Why I wasn't skpped at the moment I don't know, except 
that I was a woman rushing in where angels fear to speak, and, 
again, I was talking to the victor, who could afford to be 
amused at what he considered my amateur views. 

Colonel Tada and Mrs. Lee went away on some errand, 
and I had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Othsu. Obviously I 
had no information of value to the Jap military at this time, 
as I had been a prisoner many weeks. Besides, what the Japs 
didn't already know about Hong Kong and all the Far East, 
down to the last block and rock, wasn't worth knowing! 

Mr. Othsu was a very intelligent Japanese, and while I would 
not have trusted him with the slightest of confidences, it was 
extremely interesting to be able to converse with one who 
obviously had a broad view and had traveled enough to see 
things differently from just an ordinary Jap soldier. 

" What does Japan hope to gain by this war? " I asked. 
" Even if she wins, let's say for sake of argument, she really 
loses, doesn't she? She will have suffered much destruction, 



156 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

part of her navy will be gone, buildings will have been demol- 
ished, natural resources destroyed." 

" Meantime, Japan will have taken all resources of a million 
miles of land," Mr. Othsu pointed out. " Japan will have taken 
Malaya and all its rubber, on which your country is dependent. 
We will have taken its chrome your chrome no longer. We 
shall have the East Indies and more oil than Herr Hitler has 
taken from all Europe during the war." 

" Suppose you do. But a million Japanese will die. Isn't it 
true that Japan will have lost men who can never be replaced, 
whose sons will never be born, and they have always been im- 
portant to Japanese? " 

" You, like most Americans, lose sight of our psychology," 
Mr. Othsu answered me. "We are taught by our mother at 
her knees at the age of five, to commit hari-kari if we do not 
always do our duty first to our Emperor and our country. We 
would rather die for Japan than live for her. You Americans 
and British prefer to live for your country. If you think of 
death as we do from the time you are a small boy, you do not 
fear it. Rather you hold it a supreme privilege to meet death in 
defense of your home, country, and your Emperor! " 

I think Air. Othsu's next reply is the answer to the question 
so many Americans ask me: "Don't Japanese mothers hate 
to have their sons killed as much as American mothers do? " 

"We ship from the battlefields white boxes of ashes for 
the family shrines. They assure honor forever to come." 

It is true, and has been evident in fighting both as I saw it, 
and as the men in the Solomons have seen it, that most Jap 
soldiers do not fear death, and they as well as their women- 
folkwill die rather than surrender ingloriously. There have 
been some Japanese captured; there hav6 been thousands more 
who either drowned or killed themselves, or made approaching 
Americans kill them rather than surrender. We must fight them 
to the tragic, devastating end and almost destroy them to bring 
to a finish die warfare in the Far East. 

" Don't forget," Mr. Othsu went on, "we Japanese do not 



STRANGE INTERLUDE [ 157 

think of war in terms of this year or next. We're interested in 
the future history of Japan. At any cost we will make it secure." 
Abruptly he changed die subject. " What do you think of our 
military gains? " 

This was at a time when the Japs had already moved through 
Burma and Malaya; Singapore was about to fall; and the Philip- 
pines were tottering. 

" I can't deny your military successes," I said. " But you 
made one mistake. It will cost you the war." 

The Japanese looked startled a rare thing for an Oriental. 
"What's that?" 

"Undoubtedly hitting Pearl Harbor so unexpectedly put 
you ahead in a military sense perhaps a year, but psychologi- 
cally you did the one thing that would arouse Americans to a 
fighting pitch. You might even have bombed Hong Kong and 
Singapore, and that might not have been enough to make 
Americans fight you to the bitter end. But you made them 
realize that no longer were their people or their lands safely 
separated from you by a wide ocean." 

" We took a chance," Mr. Othsu admitted. " But we had to 
destroy most of your fleet at once. Otherwise perhaps we 
should have failed here, and in the East Indies, the Philippines, 
Alaska, and all the other pkces we are going to conquer." 

" Most of all, you infuriated them by striking while your 
peace ambassadors were still in the White House. How would 
the Japanese have liked it if a personal emissary of President 
Roosevelt was being received by your Emperor and at that 
moment we had bombed Yokohama? " 

Again I don't know what fates were protecting me in saying 
these things, except that I was an ignoble American woman 
prisoner the small child with the slingshot trying to annoy 
the giant military machine of Japan. 

" Yes, yes, I know," replied the Japanese. " But it had to be 
done, or what was the use of starting war? There's only -one 
way to win war destroy the enemy before he destroys you. 
We consider Pearl Harbor a brilliant military victory, and 



158 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

we had to destroy your fleet at once. It gives us a year to 
consolidate what we take, and then you'll never be able to 
take it away from us." 

I had an idea our fleet wasn't " destroyed," but it doesn't 
do to twist the lion's tail too long at a time, so I changed the 
subject. 

Before we left, Mr. Othsu took us into a large dining-room 
on the second floor. Strangely enough, it was part of an apart- 
ment formerly occupied by Americans I knew, where I had 
been entertained under far different circumstances. Here were 
all the staff officers having dinner. At the head of the table was 
the general who had been in charge of conquering the Crown 
colony. He was very tall for a Jap, somber-faced, and gaunt. 
His words were interpreted to us: 

" We hope you will work toward peace in Hong Kong. That 
is our hope for the colony. We have brought the New Order 
of Peace and Prosperity here, as we will to the rest of the 
world." 

I intended to work for peace, all right but the peace that 
would come after the Allied victory, so that allowed me to 
nod in agreement with this high commander's words. The New 
Order had already forced three quarters of a million Chinese 
to leave Hong Kong; the thriving businesses of many Chinese 
had been confiscated. Throughout China it had killed ten mil- 
lion men, women, and children. In Nanking, Canton, Peking, 
Hong Kong, Singapore, wherever Jap armies have marched, 
the hurt dead eyes can ask the questions I could not ask that 
day. 

I wanted some of the food on that table so badly I could 
hardly restrain myself. There were oranges, and we had seen 
no fruit for weeks, nor were we to for six more months; fresh 
vegetables, a salad, meat, liquor. We were ushered out, how- 
ever, and sent home still hungry. 

A lot of problems were solved soon when the litde Jap in 
charge of the hotel let me know that I could have a room alone 
with Mr. Arlington. Mr. Gomersall helped move the old gen- 



STRANGE INTERLUDE [ 159 

demon to a small room on the floor above, and I fixed a corner 
on the floor where I was going to sleep. Then someone told 
me there was a big empty room on the corner and advised 
me to try to get it. I asked permission to take this spot be- 
cause it had a bath attached to it, which was of the utmost 
importance in the care of the old man. 

The room which I managed to secure was a very large, pleas- 
ant one on the corner, with two beds! I felt like a WPA worker 
moved into a Vanderbilt residence. There was a bath with 
cold water, a fireplace with no wood, and a few chairs. The 
only trouble was that shrapnel had broken all the windows, and 
it was still very cold, particularly at night. That was why 
no one else had wanted to move into this refrigerator. 

I had managed to get Ah Wah, the number-one Chinese 
boy, to buy a tiny electric plate, for which I had to give him 
a $50 bill (Hong Kong dollars) , which he said he could change 
for only $22 (HK), the cost of the pkte. On this I could re- 
heat the rice, make tea, and when we had a can of extra food, 
prepare that. The main thing Mr. Arlington liked about the 
stove was that he could sit with his feet above it before he went 
to bed each night, to warm them, which seemed to make him 
sleep easier. 

He coughed for about an hour each evening, and the same 
in the morning. He had come from Peking to escape the cold 
winter there, and to recuperate after a serious siege of pneu- 
monia, and here he was in these dreadful conditions, poor soul. 
He also had to go to the bath about five times a night, and 
sometimes I'd awaken and be frightened for a minute as I 
heard him fumbling across the room. Many people were very 
kind to him and brought him little extras that were hard to 
part with these days: there were Grace and Hannah Ezra, who 
brought him chocolate or soup; Mr. and Mrs. Langston, who'd 
come each night about nine with some bit of this or that, which, 
added to whatever so and so I had managed to save from the 
day, made a tiny bedtime snack; W. B. G. Wilson, Gomersall, 
Dankwerth, Westbrook, King, and others who came daily 



160 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

with a cigarette, or perhaps only with a cheerful word, that 
kept our room one of the pleasantest places in our prison at 
least, I thought so. 

Imagine my amusement and amazement when I was told 
that about twenty years before, this had been the room of the 
Duchess of Windsor, then Mrs. Winfield Spencer. The hotel 
had been new, and was used by the navy a great deal. Here she 
had lived with her husband, who was attached to the sea forces. 
Times had certainly changed, but I used to converse with 
"WallyV ghost during sleepless night hours and tried to 
picture what happy times might have been spent in this room 
years before. 

One afternoon I was surprised to hear a knock and to find 
a Japanese outside. Mostly the Japs just stormed in, looked 
around, and went out. 

" I am Mr. Ogura of Domei news service," said the man, a 
nice-looking person with quite a lot of gray in his curly black 
hair, and with kind eyes behind his glasses. He spoke hesi- 
tatingly and shyly, I felt, and I sensed a sincerity I had not met 
in his race for some time. 

" Colonel Tada has asked me to take charge of you and 
Mr. Arlington, as writers, and I wonder what I can do for 
you." 

" Food," we both promptly replied. 

Again I could feel the embarrassment in the man's manner, 
and I knew he felt it was wrong for prisoners to be hungry. 

As the months wore on I was to know Mr. Ogura very well, 
and I want to say that here was a gentleman, in any language. 
I hope that when victory comes to us, Mr. Ogura can be repaid 
for all the many things he did for me, Mr. Arlington, and 
other writers. 

In a few days Mr. Ogura came with a briefcase in which he 
had a few cans of fruit, some cigarettes, and several cans of 
meat. Mr. Arlington and I nearly wept when we saw the 
things, for we had run out of money by this time and were 



STRANGE INTERLUDE [ l6l 

living only on the rice rations, plus a few things friends shared 
from their meager stores. In addition Mr. Ogura, with much 
hesitation, asked if we would like to borrow some money from 
him, " which you can repay when you return to America," 
he kindly added. 

I know very well that Japanese newspapermen are not well 
paid, and that this meant a sacrifice on his part. He also knew 
it would be a long time before he would be repaid, and he had 
a wife and family to support in Japan. When I hesitated, he 
said the right thing: " I am sure someone in America is being 
kind to Japanese newspaper people there." I was very happy 
when I returned home to find that the Jap correspondents had 
been treated almost like royalty at Hot Sulphur Springs. I 
hope they tell Mr. Ogura about that. 

" Are there any other reporters here? " the Domei man 
asked. 

I told him of Richard Wilson of the United Press of Manila. 
He was surprised to hear he was present, for he had known 
him in die Philippines when he, too, served in that city. 

Before he left he asked if I could not think out some logical 
scheme whereby all writers and reporters could be freed to 
go on with their writing, as nearly as possible in their accus- 
tomed way, in this Japanese-controlled territory. The war was 
finished here, and ordinarily newspaper people would be re- 
admitted to work at this point. I thought perhaps I could be 
of service to the other writers and so drew up what I thought 
might possibly get by die Japs as a working scheme. 

In part I wrote: " There are imprisoned here in Hong Kong 
a number of writers, attached to world-known newspaper 
syndicates. They have stayed at their posts to interpret inter- 
national events, without thought of personal safety or escape. 

"Now that Hong Kong is under the jurisdiction of the 
Japanese Empire, it serais to me it would be expedient to allow 
these reporters to go on about their work, sending out dis- 
patches that would allow the nations to know what Japan is 



l62 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

accomplishing here. In addition, they should be allowed to send 
out the list of all prisoners, so people in other countries may 
know there is peace in Hong Kong. 

" Of course it would be understood that we would never 
be asked to send anything that would be against the honor of 
our profession or our country. I am sure that you can under- 
stand this. 

** Since you have declared peace in Hong Kong, the sooner 
normal enterprises carry on, the better." 

I thought that was diplomatic enough to suit the conqueror 
but there were no results! 



Chapter XVI 

Captive City 



"N the evening of January 24 we were all called into the 
hallway, where Japanese soldiers through a Chinese interpreter 
gave moving orders to the internees, who were by now ill-fed, 
weak from lack of air and exercise, and nervous as to what our 
jailers would do to us next. 

"You will all be moved tomorrow to an internment camp 
at Stanley,' 7 we were told. " Our enemies from the Hong Kong 
side have already been taken there. We hope die British peo- 
ple will help one another more than they did today, and try 
to assist each other as the Americans did." 

This was flattering to the Americans, but embarrassing also, 
for it made the English people angry at us, although certainly 
it wasn't our fault. 

" You can take what you can carry, and no more," the orders 
went on. 

" Can we take blankets and linen from the hotel here? " 

There was a long parley, and then we were told this would 
be decided in the morning. Everyone was to be ready by eleven 
o'clock. 

" Here are the orders under which you will be governed," 
the interpreter continued. These began with the statement that 
since England and America had deliberately attacked Japan, 
it was necessary to consider us enemies and imprison us as 
such. " The treatment of the enemies will be based on the way 

163 



164 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

their respective nations treat the Japanese in their own coun- 
tries." (How I would have enjoyed staying at a pkce similar 
to Hot Sulphur Springs!) " The supply to the enemy is tem- 
porarily fixed at four articles: flour, salt, sugar, and coal, with 
charges and subsidiary and daily necessities to be purchased by 
themselves." Does that sound to you like the treatment given 
to the Japanese in our country? 

Later the Japanese demanded payment from the British, 
American, and Dutch prisoners for our bowls of rice and the 
corners of the floor on which we were sleeping, and threatened 
to withhold all food unless money was forthcoming. It was 
called to the attention of Mr. Miyaka, in charge of Japanese 
Civilian Administration, that under regulations of the Prison- 
ers of War Conference at Geneva, international law indicates 
that it is the duty of deterring powers to maintain the prison- 
ers, and recover the cost after the war from the government 
of the detained nationals. Since all money had already been 
seized and all bank accounts blocked, it was impossible to pay 
for our food.' 

Many things were specified in the orders which were posted, 
but the gap between promise and reality had the proportions 
of the Pacific Ocean. For instance, it was stated that the head 
of the American Community was to be our Consul-General 
and his staff, but actually they were all held incommunicado 
during our imprisonment, and we had no court of appeal but 
the Japanese. 

A Japanese soldier came to our room later on and said that 
orders from military headquarters stated that Mrs. Lee, Rich- 
ard Wilson, Mr. Arlington, and I were to remain behind in the 
hotel. This was frightening news, for although no one was 
anxious to go to internment camp, because we weren't sure 
what horrible conditions we might find, it wasn't comforta- 
ble remaining in such close proximity to our captors either. 

British residents of Hong Kong told us Stanley was on a 
peninsula, windswept and cold at this time of year. We knew 
we did not have proper clothes and were physically too run- 



CAPTIVE CITY [ 165 

down for such an exposed spot. They also reported that severe 
fighting had taken place there, and that a great deal of damage 
had been done to the buildings. 

On the other hand, to receive instructions that you were to 
remain in the hands of the Japanese High Command was as 
alarming as though they came from German militarists. Colo- 
nel Tada had told me he would see that I was able to take care 
of Mr. Arlington in the best possible manner, and I hoped this 
only meant he was keeping his promise. I also knew that he had 
told Mrs. Lee, before the fighting ended, that she would be well 
treated for her part as hostage in the peace mission, and that he 
had sent for Richard Wilson a few nights before to talk to 
him about allowing writers freedom in Hong Kong. 

Nevertheless, no matter how frightened I was, there wasn't 
anything to do but obey orders. As I worried about it during 
the sleepless night, it finally all evolved into a shining rose- 
tinted picture in my mind perhaps if I remained behind, 
even if it was dangerous, I would be in a position to help the 
Americans and Britishers in camp as no one else would be. I 
had found so far that by speaking frankly, and perhaps dar- 
ingly, to the Jap officers, I got further than with timid phrases 
and mock humiliation. I knew I should be one of the very few 
foreigners able to reach the ear of the Japanese High Com- 
mand, and certainly if I was being given this rare chance to 
serve, I should take it just as a soldier would who is given op- 
portunity to undertake a vital mission. Perhaps I could be of 
no use, and I might later be imprisoned, but at least I would 
have tried to help. With that I went to sleep. 

Many of the grand people I had come to know in the hotel 
came to our room in the morning, as Worried and frightened as 
I was about my immediate future, and giving me their best 
wishes. I had a feeling they were bidding me a final good-by 
and expected dire things to happen to me and I wasn't too 
sure myself that they wouldn't! 

It was an extremely sad hour as die internees began to lug 
their bundles down the stairways and line up in front of the 



l66 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

hotel Left behind were Major and Mrs. Manners and Mr. 
Moodie, as well as the others I have mentioned. Mrs. Lee and 
I hung over a balcony to watch them, and it was an ordeal of 
no mean proportions to see that shabby-looking group assem- 
ble with bed-rolls, small ragged bundles that contained all that 
was left of their earthly possessions and beloved homes, and 
odds and ends they had picked up which they thought might 
be useful in the life ahead. At the last minute word had come 
that everyone could take what blankets and linen he could 
find, and these alone made large bundles for the weakened 
prisoners. 

Japanese officers yelled orders, and slouchy-looking under- 
slung gendarmes pricked the prisoners with their bayonets. 
Some Chinese with weeping eyes watched from the other side 
of the street. One darted across the road to a friend, and al- 
though she was slapped by a gendarme, she didn't seem to 
mind, since she had already handed over a little parcel of food. 

It was a bitterly cold day. Some of the children had measles, 
adults had been very sick with dysentery, and hardly any had 
coats or the warm clothes which they should have been 
wearing. 

The Japanese officers became impatient, and finally one of 
the British committee men called out: " Line up, for God's 
sake, or you're going to get us all bayoneted." 

We had been warned to move, and move quickly, when 
word came that the Japanese were very nervous and weren't 
going to brook any show of rebellion or resentment. 

" March! " shouted the Jap officer, and off went the long^ 
weary line. Two men had put a broom-handle between thesa^ 
and strung from it various bundles, carrying them the way Chi- 
nese coolies do. Some had huge bundles strapped to their shoul- 
ders; others staggered with overloads. There were a few coc& 
lies, but many people did not have the extra pennies to j>ay 
them and so had to struggle along with their burdens. 

At the harbor-front these hundreds of British, Americans, 
Dutch, a few Filipinos, some Chinese, and even the Japanese 



CAPTIVE CITY [ 167 

wife of one of the Britishers were herded onto an overloaded 
ferry for the long journey around the island to Stanley, where 
barbed wires and armed guards soon shut them off from the 
world of freedom and humanity. Three thousand of them are 
still there. Three hundred of us have come home to* tell the 
story of Japan's intentions toward the white peoples of the 
world and their allies. 

I managed to get a few snapshots of the overburdened pris- 
oners before they moved off. You would have wept to see this 
group being sent into human bondage. There were all of those, 
except Mr. Arlington and Mr. Wilson, who had gone through 
the siege of Repulse Bay with me, many of them from twenty 
to forty pounds lighter in just one short month; doctors and 
nurses who had been through hell; exhausted mothers and* wan- 
looking youngsters. 

It was a strangely silent hotel to which we turned back, and 
the gnawing fear inside of me grew like an expanding balloon. 
As I hurried up the steps to see how Mr. Arlington was taking 
the commotion, I met Mr. Ogura, the Japanese newspaperman. 

" I have come to take you to Repulse Bay to get a change of 
clothing, and bags for Air. Arlington and Mr. Wilson. Colonel 
Tada secured permission for you to do this." 

Since during all these weeks I had been living in the slack 
suit in which I was captured on December 23, many times 
sleeping in it, I was overjoyed. I was also cold, and hoped to 
find a coat to wear. 

I was hit by an extraordinary feeling of coming out of a jail 
as we went down the street. Outside of the quick walk across 
the road for tea, this was the first time I had been in the open 
air since Christmas Day. I expected that at any minute some 
gendarme would poke me with a bayonet, but since Mr. Ogura 
<ras in Japanese uniform, I suppose this was a silly fear. All 
Japanese wear uniforms in war-time, no matter what their 
tasks, with identifying armbands. 

We went first to Mr. Ogura's office in the Peninsula Hotel, 
where he had a luncheon of rice and fish and I had my first 



l68 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

real meal in six weeks. This was the living-room of the same 
apartment I had visited many times before the war but what 
years ago that seemed now! A young Japanese girl in uniform 
was there also, who spoke English and had been brought up 
in Hong Kong. She said she had been held prisoner by the 
British during the fighting, and I suppose she was glad we had 
changed places that now hers was the conquering nation 
and she was free. Perhaps she had a little sympathy for those 
who were now prisoners, probably feeling that we were go- 
ing to remain in Japanese hands for a long time, while she had 
been on the wrong side of the war fence only three weeks. 

Mr. Ogura, the girl, and I started out after luncheon, armed 
with a long paper, brilliant with red stamps, and ultra-official- 
looking. We were stopped many times, particularly as we 
boarded the ferry, where a distrustful-looking Jap soldier 
glared at me with angry eyes. 

A line of Chinese, at least a mile long, was waiting for a boat. 
The Japanese authorities had " suggested " that it would be 
wise for many Chinese to return to*their homes in the country 
as soon as possible, as there was not enough food to feed them 
in this section. Within the next month three quarters of a mil- 
lion Chinese were virtually forced out of Hong Kong, where 
they had found refuge for so long. Actually this is something 
the British colonial government should have done long before, 
according to the view of the majority of the Englishmen, be- 
cause of the lack of food and water on the island and the bar- 
ren surrounding mainland. Perhaps die story of the Battle of 
Hong Kong might have had a different ending if this had been 
carried out before the coming of the Japs. 

It was a tragic-looking harbor we crossed, with die masts of 
all die sunken and scuttled boats rising above the water like 
crosses marking the burial place of proud ships . . . and with 
the Rising Sun flag flying abovfe all the craft still operating and 
on the piers. Here the Japanese navy were in charge, and they 
were a different type of men from the soldiers more intelli- 
gent-looking, less brutal. 



CAPTIVE CITY [ 169 

There were some gunboats in the harbor, and I counted 
twenty-six ships loaded to the waterline with booty that was 
being taken from Hong Kong. On the deck of one I could see 
hundreds of cars. Another was being loaded from a small boat 
with crates of American canned food. We had been given 
underground information that the British godowns had been 
opened, and an estimated hundred million dollars' worth of 
food, supplies, munitions, and guns, all had been sent Japan- 
wards. I only hope the American submarine parts which had 
been held there for future action were destroyed before Nip- 
ponese occupation. 

All the damage along the waterfront become more evident 
as we approached Hong Kong. The last week of the war had 
brought much additional shelling of the city. There was hardly 
a building which did not have open-mouthed holes, and the 
balcony had been ripped away from one which sided on the 
square. The modernistic Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Build- 
ing had gaping windows, with fluttering futile curtains in of- 
fices into which the Japanese had .not yet moved. On the ter- 
race of the American dub from which I had taken pictures, 
I saw a group of Japanese officers pointing things out to one 
another in their new domain* 

What a changed city Hong Kong was! The stores were still 
closed, and the street was jammed with sidewalk merchants* 
There was not an inch for a mile of blocks where Chinese 
were not squatting, selling American corned beef and fruit 
salad and peas; Australian mutton and jam and butter; Singa- 
pore pineapple and canned duck; Scotch whisky and French 
champagne; English cakes and soap and toothbrushes and pipes 
and sweaters and shoes. Much of this was stolen merchandise. 
Some came from shops which did not dare to open for fear of 
looting mobs, and so put salesmen with baskets in front of their 
places of business. Many had army cots loaded with salable 
material. 

Immediately after the fall of Hong Kong organized gangs 
of looters, like human tornadoes, had swept up and down the 



I7O ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

streets, breaking in store windows if they were not boarded 
up, spilling the materials on the street, taking what they 
wanted, leaving die rest. The Jap soldiers did their share in 
broad daylight, thus making Hong Kong one of the most 
looted cities in the world, by both amateurs and professionals. 

Chaos had seized the city for a period, and, as I mentioned 
before, the Japanese soldiers had been given three days of com- 
plete freedom. Then the tough gendarmes had taken hold, and 
a bit of quiet returned. Chinese puppet police were given long 
staves, and everyone was ordered to get an armband and an 
identification card which would allow him on the streets. 

Mr. Ogura took me first to the Japanese Ministry of Infor- 
mation for more permission to proceed. This was located in 
the headquarters of a former British regiment, part of which 
had been successfully shelled, and one whole wing had col- 
lapsed. A shell had come through the tower of the near-by 
cathedral, and had hit this building in back of it. 

In the center of the open court was a huge pile of burning 
books, which verified the story I had heard that orders had 
been given to burn the entire stock of certain stores and offices. 
It was a sickening sight to a book-lover, and I turned my eyes 
away. I didn't have time to think too much about this, for just 
at that moment we approached a table where a group of Jap sol- 
diers in shirt-sleeves were eating, some of them drinking beer. 

One red-faced young Jap saw us coming, reached down and 
picked up a big stick of wood, and threw it at me, fortunately 
hitting me on the shoulder instead of the face, as he shouted: 
" American! " 

Mr. Ogura was on one side of me and the girl on the other. 
None of us said anything. We went on into the building. I 
really felt sorry for Mr. Ogura, for he was trying to be kind to 
me, doing the things he hoped were being done for Jap news- 
papermen in America, and he had no control over this vicious 
gendarme. 

I think this action brought home to me more stunningly 
than anything else the fact that I was now an enemy in a con- 



CAPTIVE CITY [ 

quered country, and there probably was hardly a Jap soldier 
there who wouldn't have been happy to kill me! 

As we left the building I could see a number of young Ger- 
mans working with the Japanese, and there were also a few 
swastika signs here and there in the city. 

Then a car came up with a young Chinese driver, and we 
started back over that drive to Repulse Bay which held such 
varied and stirring memories for me. All this trip gave me an 
excellent opportunity to see what war and Japanese-occupa- 
tion had done for Hong Kong, and I felt like a volunteer in 
the secret service. As we passed one of the big cricket greens 
and the huge racecourse, I could see thousands of cars lined 
up. Apparently every automobile in the city had been brought 
to these gathering-places, like great car cemeteries, ready to 
be shipped to Japan for use and scrap iron. Many had bullet- 
holes in them and vividly told die story of close battles. There 
were smooth big American limousines and tiny litde English 
Austins, trucks, ambulances, sedans, and roadsters, every make 
and breed of English and American car. 

In the crowded Chinese section life seemed to be going on as 
usual, but there were Rising Sun flags over almost every door 
raised, I suppose, in fear of the victor. The shops were open, 
markets were busy, and dirty litde children played in the gut- 
ter. But there was that strange smell of decaying, rotten food, 
human excrement, and unburied dead that I now recognized, 
and it still hung over this section like an acidujous fog. 

Then the road began to climb, overlooking tne Jockey dub, 
which could tell such a tragic tale of Japanese occupation and . 
the rape of British nurses. 

" There was a big battle here," Mr. Ogura said, pointing to 
the valley down the side of which we had been marched the 
day before Christmas. "The commander of the Canadian 
forces was killed, and also many Canadians." He didn't add 
that many Japanese had also perished, but he knew it as well 
as I did. 

It is a lovely valley , well guarded by green, flower-covered 



172 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

hills, and I hope every young lad who lies there has found a 
happier, more peaceful world in which to rest through eter- 
nity. 

We reached the top of the Peak, where a barricade had been 
erected. The gendarmes looked at our crested sheet and slowly 
motioned us on with their bayonets, although not too will- 
ingly. The paper evidently came from the top or I am sure we 
should have been ordered back. 

From here on, each foot of road brought memories which 
choked me with bitterness. It was from the top of this peak that 
I used to feel I was entering Shangri-la. The utter peace of the 
peaks, the butterfly-patrolled hillsides, the sweet fragrance of 
pine and flowers, sun and sea, the ruffled waters of the bays be- 
low, dotted with picturesque sails of wise old Chinese junks 
and sampans, were so perfect that the world offers few pic- 
tures of greater beauty and divine creation. 

Now the fine houses perched on the edge of the hillsides so 
they could have dear visions of the sea, with their blossom- 
veiled terraces, were looted and soiled and empty. But it was 
more the deeply etched memories of the road as I had last seen 
it that blinded me now where British bodies had lain by the 
hundred, rotten and bkck and dead. 

The bodies had been removed, but the spirit of the lads who 
were gone beckoned to me and demanded that I pass on their 
messages of good-by to those who were left behind. I could 
feel that but I also could not forget that smell of death; I 
could feel it seeping again into my senses and my mind. 

Past Eu Tong-sen 7 s mansion we went, where the Japs had 
marched their prisoners, to the corner of the garage where the 
Japs had first appeared that morning in December. Although 
die fighting was long over, the Japs had a large sandbag barri- 
cade here, and we were again stopped and examined. These 
victors were not taking any chances of surprise attacks, and 
they still maintained this' vigil when we left in June. 

I had a feeling that was almost one of reincarnation, as I 
looked up at Repulse Bay Hotel as it still nestled at the foot of 



CAPTIVE CITY [ 173 

the peaks which had betrayed us. The windows of my room 
were quiet now; the gardens were filled with flowers that 
bloomed untended, and over the trellises on the porch was a 
cretonne of green leaves and sprays of carmine blossoms. The 
gay umbrellas were still beside the fountains, but there were 
no happy guests looking out over the beach and the sea. Only 
silence - silence - silence. 

I had been here before, in another life, another world. I 
knew every lovely inch of the place - but I also knew the hor- 
ror which had lived here. Visions came flashing to me from 
some of the happiest days and nights of my life which had 
been spent here ... which would be inked out with the 
terror of the siege, with its destruction and the death of those 
who were young and brave. 

From the terrace I had watched the moon rise suddenly and 
perfectly from behind the peaks, flooding the sky with silver 
waves, making of the sea a mirror so dear that a million stars 
were reflected on its serene breast ... and on another black 
night I had known that hundreds of young soldiers were creep- 
ing away to a rendezvous with death. 



that led back to remembrance. 



Chapter XVII 

Guard of Honor 



M, 



.R. OGURA left the car to see if I would be allowed to 
enter the hotel. Sandbag barricades and soldiers guarded the 
side entrance; the front doors were closed. 

Without turning around, the Chinese driver in the front 
seat said, in perfect English: " How are you being treated? " 

I was startled, and then skeptical. There were too many 
Wang Ching-wei Chinese in Hong Kong for comfort. 

" Fm afl right," I replied, " but a bit hungry." 

"We heard you weren't being fed enough," the Chinese 
continued. " I am a Chungking Chinese, and formerly was an 

accountant in the Bank here, but I am forced to drive a 

car now to earn a living." 

" What news do you have from the outside world? " I 
queried. 

" The Chinese have advanced in southern China, the Ameri- 
cans are fighting hard in the Philippines, but the Japanese are 
advancing in Makya." He spoke quickly. 

"And Russia?" 

" Russia is fighting desperately, and holding the Germans." 

I knew then that this man must have more than an ordinary 
amount of knowledge, for the Japanese were not printing a 
word about the European war in their propaganda papers, and 
certainly nothing about Russian victories. 

" What is happening here in Hong Kong? " 



GUAM) OF HONOR [ 175 

" Thousands of Chinese are starving, and the Japanese are 
harsh rulers," my informant went on. During all this time he 
had not turned around, and I was casually looking out of the 
window toward the sea* I noticed a slight stiffening of his 
back, and I stopped talking. Mr. Ogura was returning. 

We went into the hotel through the side entrance. The cor- 
ridors were vacant, and the rooms which I had last seen so 
filled with life and death were silent now. The windows in the 
hallways were vacant, too, but I could still see the grim-faced 
men who had crouched beneath each one, scanning the hillside 
for the soldiers who were sniping at us. And particularly I 
could remember the burning eyes of the young Volunteer 
who had just received word that his wife had been killed by a 
Japanese bomb. 

We went into one of the large suites, where several young 
orderlies waited in the living-room, and onto the sun porch, 
where two Japanese officers were sitting. The younger had 
highly polished boots and a superlative air of superiority, while 
the older one was more like the businessmen I had formerly 
known in Japan. 

" This is Captain Hondo, who has charge of the hotel, which 
is being converted into a convalescent hospital," Mr. Ogura 
said. We all bowed and sat down, and a Chinese boy in white 
immediately brought us pots of tea. He looked at me as though 
he were seeing a ghost, for he was my dining-room boy, and 
I suppose he knew that all British and Americans were prison- 
ers. I nodded, and his eyes recognized me as he slipped quickly 
out of the room. 

Mr. Ogura and the captain conversed for some time, while 
the newspaperman explained why we were here, showed him 
die orders, and asked for permission to go to my room. After 
we had finished our tea, two youthful soldiers were assigned 
to us, and we started down the long curving corridor. 

I can't tell you what a strange sense of unreality accom- 
panied all of this revisit to the hotel The empty rooms, the 
empty corridors, the empty windows, all overwhelmed me and 



176 ] PRISONER OP THE JAPS 

by contrast brought back those last noisy, shell-filled days of 
the siege, the strong color and sounds that history used in paint- 
ing the scene of the Battle of Repulse Bay Hotel. 

Captain Hondo had told Mr. Ogura that all the bags had 
been removed from the private rooms, put into the luggage 
room, and sealed by the gendarmerie. However, I was wel- 
come to go to my former room to see if anything had been left. 

The hotel was immaculate. The holes in the walls where 
bullets had bitten were filled, and the burned pkces in the car- 
pets repaired. One of the soldiers carried a tray with keys to 
the various rooms, and although mine was missing, we man- 
aged to open the door with another. 

It had been a strange coincidence that both times I had been 
in this hotel, in 1936 and in 1941, 1 had been assigned to the 
same room. But stranger than all was this return of the exile 
now. 

All of my bags were gone, but I was able to get my insur- 
ance papers and will, which I had hidden behind a clothes cab- 
inet. "While the three men were busy prying these out, I man- 
aged to look into another place where I had hidden some 
jewelry and film, and found it was all safe. Some day maybe I 
can retrieve that fine string of jade and other pieces; the films 
will have faded so they will be no good, but they won't be any 
good to the Japs, either! 

Looters had entered the hotel before the Japs were in full 
occupation. We had also learned, through the " bamboo wire- 
less," as k is called in China, that a few weeks after our de- 
parture, while many of the neutrals were still being held in 
the hotel, many Japanese officers had arrived for a week of rev- 
elry with their Chinese mistresses from Canton. They proba- 
bly left with some fine fur coats and pieces of jewelry. But for 
the most part the luggage had been stored away and sealed, 
just as the Japanese officer had told us. 

" There is one room with odds and ends that were left loose 
in various places," Mr. Ogura said. " Perhaps you can find 
some of your things there." 



GUARD OF HONOR [ 177 

Another of the large suites had been converted into a store- 
room, and here were supplies of linens, bolts of cretonnes, pil- 
lows and hotel supplies. 

" They have not been able to start a hospital yet because so 
much of the linen was stolen," Mr. Ogura told me. " There are 
only 90 pairs of sheets left, and according to record there 
should be 500." 

The clothes-room was filled with small wicker baskets, a 
huge pile of miscellaneous garments, odd shoes, hats, all the 
things that the guests had not had time to pack as they hurried 
out of their rooms. I could find nothing of mine, but since I 
still did not have a warm coat, I did not see why I should not 
have one of these. I asked Mr. Ogura, who hesitated, but since 
he knew I had been suffering severely from the cold, he finally 



I picked out a man's warm coat, which was not more than 
half a dozen sizes too large, a sweater, a nightgown. I looked 
longingly at all the other stuff going to waste, and wished it 
could go flying to its owners. Dresses, baby things, men's wind- 
breakers how precious they looked! 

" I'm now guilty of looting also," I admitted to Mr. Ogura, 
" but it is going to be wonderful to be warm! " 

When Captain Hondo was told I had taken the coat, he, 
too, looked severe, but finally told Mr. Ogura it was all right if 
I would return it when I got my own. He said possibly the 
gendarmes might later allow the seal on the luggage room to 
be broken, and then I could reclaim my own garment and re- 
turn this one. I thought at first this " seal " business might be 
an excuse, but one of die Chinese boys who came into the room 
said; " Your luggage in baggage room, missy. Maybe you get 
now? " 

As we left the hotel, I was able to get a good view of the 
lobby dining-room where the fighting had been, and where 
the hundreds of Canadian and British soldiers had established 
their miniature fort. It was empty now, and the holes in the 
walls had been filled The desks in the office were dosed, and 



178 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

the tables in the dining-room were packed against the walls. 
The porch, where more tables had been set so we could look 
across the bay while we ate, was occupied by only a few 
lonely leaves that ran around in little wind-blown circles. 

Mr. Ogura took me to the luggage room so I could see the 
seal for myself. It was pasted across the door, with a big paper 
written in red letters. Later on in camp when I reported all 
this to the former Repulse Bay guests, they were skeptical that 
any of our luggage really remained behind the door, but felt 
that the Japanese were using that as an excuse to cover up all 
the losses. Later events were to justify my belief that our pos- 
sessions were just out of my reach that day. 

I took one last quick look at the hotel as we left, and won- 
dered how long it would be before history released it again 
for its natural function of feeding international travelers with 
quiet, peace, and beauty. I was glad to leave, for it had been 
like visiting a perfectly preserved mummy, still with its out- 
ward living form, but quiet and inanimate and dead. 

Our long journey had been for nothing, and I hated to go 
back and teU Mr. Arlington I did not have his bag, for he 
would not quite understand why he couldn't get his belong- 
ings. 

I had also been commissioned to get the bags of Major and 
Mrs. Manners, Wilson, and Marsman and all I was coming 
back with was a coat that made me look like a female Charlie 
Chaplin, and a silk nightgown and a warm sweater. All the 
rest, however, had many more clothes and more money than I 
did, so I thought they would not begrudge me my little bit of 
warmth and comfort. Mrs. Lee had several trunks full, thanks 
to Colonel Tada's intervention, and her two dogs received a 
daily bowl of food from the Peninsula Hotel. 

When I returned to the Kowloon Hotel it was almost seven 
in the evening, and I was so exhausted I could hardly talk. I 
was weak from the many weeks of scanty food, and mentally 
tired from the strain of die return to Hong Kong and the Re- 
pulse Bay Hotel, and still remembering that piece of wood that 



GUAKD OF HONOR [ 179 

had been thrown at me. I found that those who were left had 
shifted rooms and had picked out the best in the place, but I 
got another and made the beds so we had a pkce to spend the 
night. 

About a week later the gendarmes came to get Major and 
Mrs. Manners and Mr. Moodie, who also remained in the ho- 
tel, and gave them a few minutes to get ready to go to camp. 
The soldiers could not find who had given tie original order 
for them to remain behind, and so they joined die internees at 
Stanley. Then Mr. Arlington -and I moved into their larger, 
brighter room; in fact, we moved seven times in all before we 
left that hotel, due to the shifting plans of the Japanese regard- 
ing the place. 

Marsman was given his freedom by the Japanese as a Fili- 
pino citizen, but he continued to make daily visits to the hotel, 
or at least stood across the street and nodded, but soon he also 
disappeared from the scene. At first he had worn good clothes. 
Then he had put on an old sweater and hat, for the psychology 
of the people on the streets now was to look as poor as possible, 
so looters and robbers would not attack them. I realized he had 
begun his attempt to reach freedom in Free China which 
resulted in the story / Escaped from Hong Kong. 

With Mr. Marsman's disappearance, I began to hum: " Ten 
little Indians . . . Nine little Indians . . . Eight little Indi- 
ans . . ." and wondered when we would be moved also, for 
I had no feeling that our remaining behind was permanent. 

The two guards who were put over us now were our delight 
in the month to come. Both were University of Tokyo gradu- 
ates, and undoubtedly were selected for this duty because of 
their high caliber. One worked for Mitsui and one for Mitsu- 
bishi, which is like being employed by the houses of Morgan 
and Rockefeller in this country. One had been a leading ath- 
lete in Japan, and both were immaculately dean in mind and 
body. 

Our contact with these boys was one of t&e few happy ex- 
periences of our captivity but, poor lads, they are probably 



l8o ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

dead now. One, Mr. Uehara, was our full-time guard; the 
other, who relieved him at meal-times and on his days off, was 
Mr. Kimnra. 

Uehara wore thick glasses; his stiff black hair was shaved 
close, which amused him as much as it did us; and his pride was 
a pair of evening shoes he had found somewhere, from which 
he had cut the tops away so he had shiny patent-leather bed- 
room slippers left when he was through. Both wore warm 
white wool socks and cheap khaki uniforms, which were al- 
ways dean. Their nails were dirdess, their faces shone, and 
their shirts were always well washed. 

Mr. Uehara spoke quite a good deal of English, and he was 
full of questions. Did I have a family? How old was I? Where 
did I go to school? Did I have brothers and sisters? Why did I 
leave America to come to the Far East? He had an equal num- 
ber of homely everyday questions about Mr. Arlington. 

He wanted very much to come to the United States to go 
to college " when the war is over." How much would it cost? 
Where did I think he should go? Juk how long should he stay? 

Most of our conversations we could carry on in words, but 
sometimes we had to resort to writing, for he could read Eng- 
lish better than he spoke it, as is usually true of foreign lan- 
guages. I managed to save a few of our scraps of conversation, 
and on one I find he had written: " How many Japanese in 
America? " I had answered: " In America there are 200,000 
Japanese free, only 3,000 prisoners. In Hong Kong all Ameri- 
cans are prisoners. We think not fair." Uehara just shook his 
head and looked sad. 

One day when he arrived for his morning visit, I said: " Mr. 
Arlington and I are good prisoners, are we not? " 

"Prisoners, prisoners what is that word? " 

I tried to explain and finally resorted to writing. " In Japan, 
when one man kills another, he is sent to jail, and then he is a 
prisoner." 

"Oh yes zhbryu" (I think that was the word.) "Butno, 
you are not prisoners. You are internees." 



GUARD OF HONOR [ l8l 

" All right, then, 5 ' I replied. ** If I am not a prisoner, I want 
to go home." 

The young Jap soldier looked at me a minute, then smiled: 
" Then I am a prisoner also, for I want to go home too." 

After that, each day when he arrived he would say: " We 
are all good prisoners together today, aren't we? " 

I think that this poignant thought was one of the most re- 
vealing things I ever learned during this strange period in 
which I was striving to piece together bit by bit the psychol- 
ogy of the Japs. I feel quite sure there is not a single little Jap 
soldier who would not like to be home with his family, but also 
that there is not one who isn't willing to sacrifice and die for 
his Emperor, without question of right or wrong. 

Our two guards insisted that I understand they were not 
" shootipg soldiers." One was apparently in the ordnance di- 
vision, and the other an engineer, and they didn't want me to 
think they killed people. 

The boys liked Mr. Arlington, and there was scarcely a day 
they did not bring him a package of cigarettes, and often they 
brought a can of condensed milk. I'm sure their pay was only 
a few yen a month, but they venerated the age of the old gen- 
tleman, and they wanted to show it. Almost every night about 
nine o'clock they would come to our room with their cans of 
milk, for apparently they had received these every day, with 
one for Mr. Arlington. Sometimes they brought hard biscuits 
or pieces of pastry from their dinner, or bought across the 
road at the Russian restaurant. 

One night there was a great clattering in the halL It sounded 
like the old days when die gendarmes came banging around 
without warning. I answered a smashing rap on the door, and 
in walked eight Japanese soldiers. My heart did a tap dance all 
over the floor of my mouth. Execution squad, or what? 

They looked around the room, examined everything, and 
sat down as though for a long winter's vast. Mr. Arlington 
could not speak Japanese, but Chinese and Japanese written 
characters are die same, so he asked some questions and then 



l82 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

found one soldier who spoke some Mandarin Chinese. This 
boy was a handsome, sullen person, no* very Japanese-looking, 
who said he was a graduate of the Tokyo Military Academy 
(approximately the equivalent of our West Point), had stud- 
ied in Peking, and had traveled a great deal 

Of course I was an object of curiosity, and I could sense 
many questions being asked. I was dying to act like a hostess 
at any ordinary fireside event, but I wasn't happy inside. Some 
of the soldiers were tough-looking individuals, who slouched 
in the chairs, and all had guns and bayonets. The armament of 
the leader was a handsome sword which he seemed to have 
much trouble handling, as it was nearly as big as he was. All 
had been drinking, and there's nothing encouraging about al- 
coholic Japanese. 

Mr. Uehara was sitting to one side, looking unhappy and 
saying little. I couldn't figure out the situation, for obviously 
these were not friends of his. And if not, what were they doing 
here? 

They dropped cigarettes on the floor, messed up everything, 
and seemed to have taken fall possession of our room. The 
only word I could manage to get was " Singapore." From this 
I realized more troops were being transported to Malaya. Fi- 
nally about midnight they all stalked out, and I nearly collapsed 
from relief no firing squad tonight. 

" A bunch of bad soldiers from a boat now going to Singa- 
pore/' my guard said, and I could see that he was as relieved 
as we were to see those men leave. He apparently reported 
this visit to his headquarters, for he later told me: " No more 
soldiers allowed to come your room. Only me and Mr. Ki- 



mura." 



One day in February there was a knock, and upon answer- 
ing it I found a Japanese officer, with only one arm. " I have 
been put in charge of you by Colonel Tada," he said in excel- 
lent English, " while Mr. Othsu is in Canton." 

He wore a long sword, carried a briefcase, and was a differ- 
ent type from any I had encountered before. My view of the 



GUARD OF HONOR [ 183 

various departments of the Jap military machine was daily be- 
ing broadened. 

I had been chatting for some rime with this officer when I 
noticed a ring on his finger which looked familiar to me. " That 
is a University of Michigan ring! " I exclaimed. 

" Yes, I went there to school," he replied with a anile. " And 
you too? " 

Later I realized, of course, that Mr. Uehara had reported to 
headquarters to what school I had gone, and this man had been 
selected for that very reason as the liaison between the Office 
of Military Information, for which he worked, and ourselves. 

Many things in life at this time seemed and were fan- 
tastic, but I think the hours I sat prisoner in that second-rate 
hotel in Kowloon, talking to a Japanese officer about likes and 
springtime in Ann Arbor, about football and Hill auditorium, 
and die Diagonal and toasted hot rolls at M's, were about the 
strangest. I had taken it for granted that Mr. Kondo had lost 
his arm in the war, but he told me differently. 

" I was skating cross-handed near Dexter " (scene of Ann 
Arbor's winter sports) " with a fat girl who slipped and fell on 
my wrist. My arm became infected, and everyone wanted me 
to go to the hospital, but I wouldn't. When I went back to Ja- 
pan, it became worse and I told them to cut it off." 

I'm going to jump ahead in my story to a letter I received 
just two weeks ago from T. Hawley Tapping, general secre- 
tary of the University of Michigan. Enclosed was another let- 
ter from Dr. Ignatz G. Uhrie of Batde Creek, Michigan, 

" In the Michigan Alumnus was an article written by Gwen 
Dew. It is about a Mr. Yozo Kondo, and an * M * ring. If this 
ring was of cast silver, I cast it in my senior year as a dental 
student. I know this Japanese, I am sure, for he roomed at the 
same address as mine. We believed that he had TB of the arm, 
and that he was going back to Japan to die. He wanted a re- 
membrance of Michigan, and I suggested that I might cast 
him a ring. He was very pleased with it, and I thought he had 
died years ago. . . . 



184 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

" This young man went back to Japan with a trunk full of 
photographs of different views of the United States. I always 
felt he had to deliver them to his government before he died." 

The young man who went home with the pictures of Amer- 
ican cities, rivers, and ports was in Ann Arbor in 1919! 

Mr. Kondo came to see us several times, each time bringing 
a few cans of milk or fruit. He also visited the others, but I felt 
he was more interested in talking about schooldays with me. 

One day late in February he came in the early afternoon. It 
was a dark, cold day, but when he asked if I would like to take 
a walk, I was as delighted as a child, for I had been walking 
only twice in two months. 

The streets were still filled with venders; the Indian silk 
shops had begun to open and here and there a few windows 
had been unboarded. We walked up wide Nathan Road, past 
a former British garrison now filled with Jap soldiers, to the 
canteen set up by the Japanese government for its military 
forces. Here they could buy cigarettes for a few pennies, 
canned milk, fish, and meat for extremely low prices. (It was 
all loot, anyway.) 

Mr. Kondo left me on the sidewalk while he went in to buy 
some things, and I quaked every time a gendarme looked at me. 
I had no pass or armband which gave me a right to be on the 
street, and any one of them might have whisked me off to jail. 

On the way back we passed a long line of marching Jap 
soldiers, apparently just disembarking from transports. Mr. 
Kondo removed his hat and stood at attention. 

" Those white boxes they carry are the ashes of our dead," 
he explained. 

Walking beside some of die soldiers were German police 
dogs, the trained animals that hunt with them, particularly in 
swamps and mountains where there might be ambushes. Ger- 
many sent twenty-five thousand of diem to Japan at one time 
for military purposes. The dogs don't carry bayonets with 
which to loll, but their fangs are well trained! 

Mr. Kondo bought me a bag of candy which seemed like a 



GUARD OF HONOR [ 185 

bag of gold in ordinary times, and a few cans of pineapple and 
corned beef to take to Mr. Arlington. I felt like Santa Glaus 
when we returned, with legs shaky from weakness, but happy 
for the fresh air and freedom of the brief hour. 

" Do you know why I took you for a walk today? " the 
Japanese officer asked as he left me in front of the hotel. I told 
him no. I think his answer was a supremely important indica- 
tion of the effects that an American education may have on a 
Japanese boy. 

He bowed, and shook my hand. 

" Today is Lincoln's birthday," 



Chapter XVIII 

Balcony Seat 



iHERE will be those who criticize me for saying anything 
good about any Japanese, as I have in the foregoing stories. I 
look at it differently. I should hate to think there was an entire 
nation of people, many of whom have come under the influ- 
ences of an American education, or of the countless American 
representatives of Christianity, who have poured millions of 
dollars into Japan to teach the principles of our church and 
our country, that was one hundred per cent bad. 

If there are not at least a small number of thinking, f ar-see- 
ing and sincere Japanese, the hopes for a future peace are sad 
indeed. It is on the shoulders of such intelligent Japanese as 
these few I encountered that the strenuous terms of the peace 
which we must some day impose on this aggressor nation must 
rest. It is lucky the military machine has not yet destroyed 
these Oguras, Kondos, Tadas, and Ueharas, with fundamen- 
tally good characteristics which cannot be stifled. 

At present the Japanese hate the British more than they do 
the Americans. Part of the cause for this lies in the attitude 
the colonial Britisher takes toward anyone else in the Far East, 
which gives the Japs, with their inferiority complex, high 
blood-pressure. This colonial British smugness is as likely to be 
directed against Americans as anyone; die only difference is 
that we just laugh at it, take it as an affectation we don't quite 
understand, and go beyond it to admire the fighting qualities 
and the blunt honesty of the average Englishman. 



BALCONY SEAT [ 187 

Another element leading to the Japanese hatred of the Brit- 
ish was the British possessions in the Far East which got in the 
way of the rampant Japanese car of Juggernaut British con- 
cessions in China, British colonies, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, 
Hong Kong, Borneo, New Guinea, Australia, India. These 
barriers of white control in the Orient against which die Jap- 
anese have had to fight belonged to Great Britain rather than 
America. The Philippines have been the only block we of- 
fered, and our lenient government allowed the Japanese to set- 
tle there by the thousands, ran businesses, make money, and 
so act easily and efficiently as " honorable spies." 

But I predict that Japanese hatred will soon turn toward 
America, because it will be our planes, our ships, and our sol- 
diers that will ultimately defeat them in the Far East. When 
American planes continue to bomb Japan, and when women 
and children are killed, as is inevitable in modern warfare, an 
intense hatred will flame up with consuming power against 
our country. 

Even before the war began, Nipponese military authorities 
were feeding this fire with propaganda, which always pointed 
out to the average Japanese (who knows only what he reads, 
and that is government-masticated before he ever sees it) that 
it was America who was " strangling " Japan, not allowing her 
to buy enough rubber, tin, gas, and oil to continue her neces- 
sary growth. It was America who froze her funds in the Ori- 
ent. It was America who was giving China money to continue 
her fight. It was never stressed that it was also American scrap 
iron that was building Japanese fighting planes and machinery. 

Neither was anything said of die fact that America did not 
approve, although she was weak in showing her disapproval, 
of the constant bombings of Chinese cities, of the rape of Nan- 
king, of the horrors of Japanese occupation. Nor was it stressed 
that when the Japanese very deliberately sank the Panay, to 
see just how far they could go in insulting the American flag, 
we turned the other cheek. 

Nor did we make other than a few weak diplomatic squawks 



l88 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

when the Japs attacked Shanghai in 1937 and took possession of 
all but the few miles of the International Settlement. On the day 
the Japs bombed Shanghai, I wrote: " It would take a thousand 
marines to stop the Japs from further aggression at this point, 
for they are not ready to fight America. If we wait a few years 
it will take a million marines and armed forces." We did, and 
it will. 

Each time Japan has struck and won she has become a 
little stronger materially, in morale, in confidence. She waited 
tentatively to see what would happen in Manchukuo, Nothing. 
. . . In China. . . . Nothing. In Indo-China. . , , Nothing. 

For twenty-five years previous to 1941 she was busy build- 
ing a military machine, and now it was well oiled and in full 
running order. Japan had soldiers who had been under fire, 
and were expertly trained in killing and conquest. She had also 
trained them in mountain fighting, in swamp battles, in freez- 
ing climates, in the air. 

Never had she hidden any of her intentions regarding the 
Far East. She said she intended to rule the whole of it, but 
when she actually struck we all acted like the magazine ad- 
vertisements: " When he sat down to the piano to play, every- 
one laughed." 

We didn't laugh after Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong, Indo- 
China, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, the 
Philippines, Midway, Guam, the Aleutians, the Solomons. We 
didn't laugh, but we weren't ready to fight. Japan was. We had 
pkyed her -waiting game, and when she was ready to strike, 
she did. We're still playing her wailing game, for naturally 
Japan loves our " Defeat Hitler first " idea why not? 

It has already given her more than a year to consolidate her 
gains, which include a billion tons of coal and iron, almost 
100% of die rubber the United States used to use, 60% of the 
world's tin, a tremendous supply of oil as well as 1,000,000 
square miles of territory, and 500,000,000 people. In other 
words, this year has given her time to weld the second largest 



BALCONY SEAT [ 189 

empire in the world into a working whole. She is planning an 
underground tunnel from Japan to the mainland. She is work- 
ing day and night to build roads through China and the Malay 
Peninsula, so that she can eventually have a road from Tokyo 
to Singapore! 

Given this, Japan doesn't have to worry if her navy loses 
some of its potency. She can have a land-based army and land- 
based planes. Indeed, anything Japan can do to encourage the 
Allies to defeat Hitler first, she will consider super-diplomacy. 

It was no wonder the Jap soldiers we saw in Hong Kong 
were confident and cocky little devils. Each day brought new 
victories to them. Always we hoped the news we saw in 
their English-written, Japanese-directed newspaper, the Hong 
Kong News, was pure propaganda. Often we had a sunken 
feeling in our hearts that it wasn't. 

There was a turncoat Britisher called Drake on die staff, 
and he wrote devilishly clever editorials. The British had im- 
prisoned him with the Japs when war began, but now he was 
free and working. 

We could hardly believe that the Japanese had advanced so 
rapidly in Malaya. Too long had we been taught that the jun- 
gles and swamps of the peninsula were natural barriers. It 
hadn't dawned on our smart minds that the methodical Japs 
would take up the problems of jungle iDs and swamp progress 
one by one until they were solved. 

I remembered sending with amusement an item to News- 
*<week from Japan. The Japanese logicians had announced that 
lack of perspiration had been added to the Nipponese idea 
of the superman. According to a professor in a Japanese uni- 
versity, the Japanese had mor$ rights as colonizers in tropical 
and semi-tropical countries than Americans, British, and Rus- 
sians because they perspired less. 

Perspiration was a sign of weakness, the learned professor 
announced. " The amount shed by a nation may determine its 
fate," According to the announcements, the British and Ameri- 



190 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

cans sweat up to 4,800,000 drops in the time when the com- 
paratively dry Japs perspire no more than 3,000,000 drops. All 
this seemed lie a foolish little bit of Japanese logic as I read it, 
but how vital it becomes when tied up with the after events 
in the swamps and jungles of Malaya! 

We had been smugly sure the Japs couldn't " stand the trop- 
ical climates,*' and thus couldn't possibly make an attempt to 
take Singapore via Malaya. Undoubtedly this professor was 
only one of many who had been studying this very problem 
for countless years. It was not the Japs who fell under the 
strain of jungle fighting! England and America might well 
have studied in advance the problems of soldiers who might 
have to fight through the tropics. " The amount of perspira- 
tion shed by a nation may determine its fate" 

As the days went on, and the Hong Kong paper predicted 
the fall of Singapore, we felt ourselves part of a lost kingdom. 
The paper daily gave news of the progress of the Japs, and 
though it announced the final capitulation before die actual 
surrender, the main details it gave us have proved correct. The 
day came when there was an extra, and the front page was half 
fall of the headline: 

SINGAPORE FALLS 

How heartsick were the British, and how discouraged were 
we! I knew the strategy of the war in the Far East had been 
laid out on the assumption there would be a three-cornered tri- 
angle from which to work Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, * 
the Philippines. Hong Kong entered into the picture as a naval 
base, but I suppose it was known that this city might eventu- 
ally fall. At least that seemed evident even to a non-military ob- 
server like myself. 

A holiday was declared by the Japanese government upon 
the surrender of Singapore, and huge parades and celebrations 
were arranged in which the Chinese were supposed to take 
part. Long parades passed under our windows, the typical 
dragon procession of China, with small boys in costumes, 



BALCONY SEAT [ 

young men with banners. Lanterns were hung everywhere 
and there was music and extra rice for the Chinese, and time 
off for the Japanese soldiers. 

In front of my room was a balcony, and I hung over this for 
hours each day. There was nothing else to do, and it was sur- 
prising what one could learn by just watching the living in one 
block. At first there were not many people on the street. Then, 
little by little, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, and other neutrals 
came out of their frightened hiding-places and went about 
their work. The Japanese ordered all businesses to open, and 
although they were not able to enforce this for many months, 
a few shops did take down the boards which had protected 
them from looters. 

Then cafes opened for the Japanese soldiers, and in order to 
attract business these places kept their music going constantly 
and loudly. There was one Japanese song I heard a thousand 
times, and I'll never be able to hear that type of tune again 
without thinking of our street scene. 

The Japanese also ordered all English signs removed from 
streets, shops, hotels, everywhere. At first some of the shop- 
owners, apparently feeling that maybe it was a little prema- 
ture to destroy their English signs, pasted paper strips over 
them, with Chinese lettering. Either die Japanese ordered this 
stopped or the owners reconciled themselves to a long Japa- 
nese possession, for, soon these were ripped off, the English 
painted out, and Chinese signs went up. As I have explained, 
many Japanese and Chinese characters are identical, so they 
were really putting up Japanese signs. I took a series of pic- 
tures of the restaurant across the street first with its original 
name; then with the paper strip over it with an English name 
with a Japanese flavor, Tokyo Caf6; and finally with its name 
in Chinese characters. 

Today no one in Hong Kong, unless he was extremely fa- 
miliar with the city, could find his way around. There are no 
longer the streets that have played such a part in British history 
in Hong Kong for a hundred years Queen's Road, King's 



192 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Road, Wyndham Street. Now they have long Japanese names 
which I'm sure even the Chinese can't pronounce. 

One morning I watched an exciting panorama below me. A 
young Chinese ran down the road, and shortly afterwards 
came two turbaned Indian policemen. I sensed a drama to 
come, so perched my camera on the bathroom window, locked 
the door so no Jap soldier could come in, and made a series of 
pictures the producer of a Hollywood thriller might envy. 

I saw the young Chinese run around a corner into what I 
knew was a blind block, and the Indian policemen turn the 
other way. Now the Chinese came running back, clinging to 
the wall, at about the same second the policemen returned. 

The boy, cornered, turned his back to the wall and faced 
the Indians, who came to within ten feet of him. I could see 
their arms rise, pointing toward the culprit, and hear the faint 
echo of the shots almost as the Chinese slid to the sidewalk. 

In a minute around the same corner came two Chinese coo- 
lies carrying a wooden plank. On it was a young Chinese coolie 
girl, with the broad cheekbones and the clear skin of a country 
dweller, lying dead. Her hands dangled and swung heavily as 
the two men walked along in their queer walk-trot. A stray 
bullet had killed the girl as she worked, scrubbing the pave- 
ments, and she was being carried back to the tiny hovel and 
good earth from whence she came. 

The street-cleaning girls were part of the Japanese direction 
of the city. There were about thirty girls and women in the 
squad, who came daily with scrub brooms and pails full of 
dean water. They would throw the water on die pavements, 
curbs, and streets, then scrub them well, while the sound of 
their high-toned chatter rose to my window like that of a 
school of blackbirds. 

My corner window looked down the street, which ended in 
what had been British military buildings, radio masts, harbor 
signal towers, and barracks. The Japanese had taken over, of 
course, and each night at sunset they would come into this 
Mock-long street, a bugle would blow, and they would all 



BALCONY SEAT [ 193 

turn and bow toward the land of the Rising Sun and pledge 
new allegiance to their Emperor. 

There were two brick sheds at the opening of the wall, and 
here the soldiers had set up a scrubbing-room. I could see huge 
tubs of water, rising steam from the sheds, and soldiers arriv- 
ing with towels. Chinese girl barbers would come with their 
equipment in small bags, and keep the soldiers' heads clean- 
shaven. Mr. Uehara said everyone up to the rank of lieutenant 
had to have his hair cut off. The stubs of their coarse black 
hair made their pates look like pigs' backs and bristles. 

Once I saw the young Jap soldiers seize a dirty little Chinese 
beggar boy and put him through their own cleaning squad. 
They really scrubbed him hard, threw away his ragged shirt, 
cut his hair, and sent him away looking at his dean hands in 
amazement. 

Catercorner across the street was the very large YMCA 
building, with a fine swimming pool and recreation rooms. 
This was filled with soldiers, and I could see them on the roofs, 
sunbathing. In the back courtyard were scores of American 
trucks and drums of American oil, all seized upon occupation. 

I could also watch all the fine loads of fruit, vegetables, and 
meats that went into the military headquarters across the street 
in the Peninsula Hotel, as well as truckloads of liquor. All that 
didn't worry me as much as the boatloads of things I could see 
in the harbor, if I leaned far enough over the balcony or went 
up to the top floor of the hotel Day after day, ship after ship 
sailed away to Japan loaded with booty. 

Often at night I could hear marching feet, and then Yd 
know the troops were on the move again some going to Can- 
ton for fighting, some returning, some being sent to Malaya. 

A three-day black-out was ordered. According to the paper, 
it was just a practice session to keep the Chinese people fa- 
miliar with the routine; but late the first night I heard the 
steady dull roar of motors, so I put on a dark coat and slipped 
out on the balcony. As my eyes became accustomed to the 
darkness, I could see long fines of marching troops with full 



] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

fighting regalia, packs on their backs, helmets on top of them, 
guns with unsheathed bayonets. Dozens of trucks rumbled by, 
and many horses passed. They were all headed for the harbor 
a block and a half away, and many transports full of men and 
equipment must have pulled away from Hong Kong those few 
nights. 

A few days before this, young Uehara had come in with a 
grin, telling Mr. Arlington he had permission to " take him 
a-walking " for a few blocks that evening. This was to be Mr. 
Arlington's first venture into the outdoors for two months. I 
went ahead with Mrs. Lee's two dogs on a leash, Mr. Arling- 
ton was behind me, and then came Uehara. I heard a crash, and 
turned just in time to see the old man come pitching down the 
stairs head first, and heard the sickening sound of his forehead 
hitting the iron posts. I was extremely frightened, for I feared 
that he was too delicate to stand this shock. 

We carried him to the bottom of die stairs, and after his 
first daze he said: " Pm not hurt much. Why, Fve had lots 
worse falls from my horse than this! " There was a cut on his 
head which I bathed, and his ankle hurt, he said. He insisted 
on taking his walk, however, and so we paced through the 
darkened streets for a dozen blocks. 

Two weeks later I was wakened about two a,m. by a smash-, 
ing crash and the sound of moaning. I rushed to the bathroom, 
and there was the old man flat on his back, with blood pouring 
from his head. I tried to lift him, but he was a dead weight. The 
poor old soul had fainted away, and when he revived he was 
very sick. He kept complaining of his spine, and I was afraid 
he had injured it badly. 

Gradually he had become weakened during all these weeks, 
and although I had tried hard to feed him enough, that had 
been impossible. After the other prisoners "had been sent to 
Stanley, all the Japanese authorities sent us was some bread 
and butter each day. With the money Mr. Ogura lent me, 
which was all we had, I bought milk, and so fed Mr. Arling- 
ton and myself mostly on bread and milk, and soya milk left 



BALCONY SEAT [ 195 

by friends who had gone to camp. Some days I managed to 
have Ah Wah, the Chinese hotel boy, bring in a vegetable or 
a can of beef or mutton, and then we'd have a very special 
dinner. 

From this time on, Mr. Arlington did not get out of bed 
until we left the hotel After his fall, which was quite a shock, 
I could hardly sleep nights, and always tried to turn on my 
bedside light when he got up for his frequent trips to the bath. 
I was afraid he would have another fall and perhaps kill him- 
self, and then I should have felt frightfully responsible. 

Shortly afterwards there was a loud knock one night, and 
outside was a small Japanese in civilian clothes, and behind him 
a larger one, harder-appearing. I did not recognize the leader 
until he spoke, because he looked so different from the way he 
did in officer's uniform for this was Colonel Tada and his 
bodyguard. 

" I came to see how the eighty-three-year-old baby is," he 
said. After chatting a few minutes with him, Tada told me he 
had flown to Tokyo to see his wife and children and had just 
returned. He went in to visit Mrs. Lee, and I could hear his 
voice through the hall for a long time, the Japanese who had 
not spoken any English when I first encountered him. 

I was to learn later that Colonel Tada was considered quite a 
military expert in Japan, and had written a military textbook. 
He was put on the staff of the new Japanese Governor-Gen- 
eral when he arrived, so he must have been considered an im- 
portant man. I heard also that Mr. Kondo, the University of 
Michigan student, was secretary of the Tokyo Chamber of 
Commerce, but this I have not been able to verify. 

About this time, late in February, things began to break up, 
as though more powerful currents were sweeping down from 
mountain heights, and we felt a change in the air. At first we 
had been the only people in the hotel except the Chinese owner 
and his family. Then some Japanese officers moved in on the 
first floor, and we were hoisted to the third. Then we were told 
the first two floors were to be folly occupied, and at the very 



196 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

last, the entire hotel was taken overnight for Japanese troops. 
Sometimes they would come wandering up to our floors and 
peer curiously like children at their captives. 

Then word came that the two young guards who had been 
so kind to us had been ordered back to active duty in Canton, 
Fve always thought headquarters felt they were too sympa- 
thetic to us and shifted them for that reason. I wrote a note to 
Colonel Tada thanking him for the high caliber of soldier he 
had put over us, hoping he would let the boys stay, or if they 
had to go, my thanks might put a good mark on their record, 
for after all they had been very kind to us. I am sure they had 
no wish for actual " killing " fighting and would have liked to 
remain as our guards. 

On their last day they went to Hong Kong, hired a car, and 
went out to Stanley to see the internment camp. Upon their 
return they said they hoped we wouldn't have to go there, for 
k was cold and crowded, and the windows were still out of 
many buildings. 

I promised, after the war was over, to send each of the boys' 
small sisters an American doll, and that seemed to please them 
immensely. The last afternoon the two arrived with their coats 
on (they usually were in shirt-sleeves or sweaters), with spe- 
cial cakes from the Russian restaurant, and not the Japanese tea 
they liked, but coffee for Mr. Arlington and myself! As a go- 
ing-away present, Mr. Uehara left his treasured patent-leather 
bedroom slippers for the old gentleman. 

I admit I felt very sorry when these two young Japanese, 
who in the midst of a bloody and warring world, had tried to 
make things easier for their prisoners, left us. They said they 
were to depart very early, so I went to the balcony at dawn. 
The two came and stood under my window, all ready to em- 
bark to whatever field their military government was sending 
them, ^fth full marching equipment, and tears in their eyes as 
they waved us good-by. 



Chapter XIX 

Cake Without Frosting 



AT was suggested by Mr. Ogura that it would please Colo- 
nel Tada, who was responsible for our " freedom," if we would 
write a story about what we had seen in Hong Kong during 
the fighting. Such a request had been expected, although we 
were told that this was not " required." 

I felt the time had come to try to help my fellow country- 
men and the British and Dutch in internment. That had been 
my purpose in staying behind, because on the 'whole it had 
been a lonely existence no fresh air, little food, no exercise, 
and none of the people I had liked before with whom to talk. 

I struck first with a letter I sent to Colonel Tada, which read: 

" I hope you will find time to talk to the Red Cross repre- 
sentative who is interned at Stanley. As far as I know, this is 
the first time in the history of modern warfare that a high rep- 
resentative of the Red Gross has been held prisoner. As you 
know, the Red Gross is not a political organization, but a hu- 
manitarian one, concerned with caring for the health and food 
of all peoples whether enemy or not. During the earthquake in 
Japan, nearly 20,000,000 American dollars were sent for relief 
by the American Red Cross, and this would be true in future 
peace-time catastrophes or emergencies. 

" The fact that the Red Cross reported from Geneva on the 
number of Japanese prisoners in America means that this or- 

197 



198 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

ganizarion is helping these internees in the United States, and 
will see that they have good food and medicine. 

" I do not wish to overstep my privileges, but I do want to 
do everything possible to be of service to my country at the 
present time.** 

This was not acknowledged, and the Red Cross man was 
never released. 

Colonel Tada came to the hotel late one afternoon with Mr. 
Ogura. He was complete with white gloves, big sword, and 
well-tailored uniform. He had conveniently forgotten his Eng- 
lish again, and the newspaperman did all the talking. The colo- 
nel was being sent to Canton for a time, they said, and he had 
come to bid us good-by. According to Japanese custom, he 
said, he was presenting Mr. Arlington and me with a farewell 
present forty yen (ten dollars), with which to buy food 
and expressed a hope that the old man would get his strength 
and health back soon. How he expected this with no fresh 
air and sunshine, only the bread and butter which was being 
sent each day, with just the little bit extra I could buy when I 
got some money like this, I never quite figured out. I was glad 
to use Japanese money (as they had taken so much of mine) to 
buy a few tins of food and to pay for the things I had been hav- 
ing Ah Wah get to nourish my charge and myself. In order to 
wipe out any implied obligation I immediately gave Colonel 
Tada a fine coral and cloisonne ring for his wife which sur- 
prised him, Fm sure. 

Since Colonel Tada was going away, he wondered, accord- 
ing to our translator, if I had ever written anything for him 
which he could read or pass on to his successor. I nodded and 
gave them the article which I had ready for just this moment. 

Colonel Tada said he had recommended that we be allowed 
to stay in the hotel under guard, hoped we would get along all 
right, and wished to assure us that we need not worry about 
being sent to camp. 

My article went back with Colonel Tada to military head- 
quarters and the next day we were ordered to camp! 



CAKE WITHOUT FROSTING [ 

In writing my article, I tried to give a straightforward ac- 
count of what had happened in Hong Kong, so that the whole 
thing would have the ring of authenticity. I realized, of course, 
that the Japanese knew every tiny detail of what had happened 
before, during, and after the siege, and that I could not pos- 
sibly be betraying any fact they did not know better than I 
did. They had at least fifty thousand spies working for them 
in the city, so I didn't thinV they had missed a moment in any- 
one's lives! 

I wrote what I considered a reasonable picture of my experi- 
ences a layer cake of the various weeks. But when it came 
to finishing the article, I didn't put any frosting on it. I knew 
the officers would read carefully what I had written, looking 
for something that could be used for Jap propaganda, and that 
undoubtedly this piece of American writing would go directly 
to the High Command. It was a rare opportunity and I in- 
tended to make full use of it. It might not do any good, but it 
was well worth trying. 

I managed to smuggle out of imprisonment what I wrote, 
which in part went like this: 

" I've always said I wanted to be a * foreign correspondent,* 
never a * war correspondent.' But since fate made me present 
for warfare, I'll tell you what my reporter's eyes saw, not what 
my woman's heart felt. 

" War came with unexpected suddenness, as you know. It 
is something of which we have talked for months, but I hoped 
and prayed it would never come. I hoped that nations could 
reach some understanding so that trade and commerce and 
peace could continue. I've traveled many hundreds of thou- 
sands of miles in my lifetime, and I've known good things in 
all countries, and I've tried to help make my own countrymen 
seg these things through my writing and pictures. . . . 

"Japanese plans were well made and quickly carried 
through, and thorough knowledge of the terrain became more 
evident as the siege continued." 

I went on to teU of what I did the first week of the war, and 



2OO ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

of the meeting with the peace mission. Then there were pas- 
sages like this: 

" The next day I spent some time in finding out how rice was 
being distributed, and went to see the dreadful sights when a 
shell was dropped on Potringer Street, which made me heart- 
sick. I had to go back to Repulse Bay Hotel for films, and I was 
never able to get back to Hong Kong again. . . . It had never 
been the intention of the British authorities to make Repulse 
Bay Hotel a military objective. . . . Suddenly we guests 
found ourselves in the midst of soldiers and gunfire. 

" The British authorities realized that civilians had become 
accidentally involved in warfare, and that women and children 
and businessmen must be saved at all costs. ... A group of 
Japanese soldiers arrived with fixed bayonets. . . . We were 
told to leave the hotel, oirrying whatever small bag we could 
carry. It was a strange sight to see us go, old people, babies, 
invalids, as well as the others. We had had no food since two 
o'clock the day before, and did not have anything but crack- 
ers and a lump of sugar for thirty-two hours, and how hungry 
we got! 

" We spent Christmas Eve in a looted paint factory. . . . 
The next month was spent at the Kowloon Hotel. . . . We 
did find it hard to live on only rice; it was like a Japanese hav- 
ing to eat only bread." 

I now felt I had sufficiently drawn the red herring across 
die trail. Certainly even the keenest of Japanese Intelligence 
men could not find a single fact there they did not know about 
Hong Kong, yet obviously I had told the truth of what had 
happened to me. Now I took my life in my hands: 

" I hope that some day when peape comes ways will be found 
by mankind to settle differences without war. The world must 
become friends, or modem civilization will be lost. Maybe the 
women of the world will have to find some way to keep their 
husbands and sons out of war, so that there may always be 
more sons and more fathers, and no dead soldiers. 

" Perhaps this is not 'the place to write this, but I shall take a 



CAKE WITHOUT FROSTING [ 2OI 

chance, as I consider it of so much importance to the future of 
all of us. Because of my hopes of the peace that must come 
sometime, I do think that the treatment of civilians by the 
Japanese Empire is of the utmost importance. While these ci- 
vilians are technically enemies at present, some day I believe 
that Japan and America and Britain will be friends again. 

" Then there must be no unnecessary bitterness in the hearts 
of prisoners of war, or permanent peace will not become a re- 
ality, and our sons cannot become friends. For the sake of the 
thousands of British civilians and soldiers and the few hundred 
Americans now interned in Hong Kong, I beg for the sake of 
the future of our nations that you do everything possible for 
their comfort. I realize that at present there is war outside of 
Hong Kong, and so things cannot be as they were in peace- 
tine. However, Hong Kong has already been captured by the 
Japanese, so peace has come to this colony. And it is to be re- 
membered that the better the treatment of prisoners by any 
country, the greater will be the virtue of that country after 
war ceases. 

" I read a report in the Hong Kong News of January 25 by 
Domei, from Geneva, that there are only 1,484 Japanese pris- 
oners of war among all the 200,000 Japanese who live in Amer- 
ica. In Hong Kong alone there are more civilian prisoners than 
that, not counting the soldier prisoners. Believe me when I tell 
you that I know my American countrymen well enough to 
swear that these Japanese will be well housed, well fed, and 
well treated. Some day you will talk to them and know for 
yourselves this is true. There are still thousands of Japanese 
free in the United States to go about their lives, to help bring 
understanding between our countries. All of this makes me be- 
lieve, in the interest of future peace, that it is doubly important 
to treat Hong Kong prisoners with great understanding and 
care. 

"I sincerely believe that when peace comes, Japan and 
America will be friends once more., Your students will go to 
our universities. I hope arrangements can be made for young 



202 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Americans to go to your universities. Let us exchange students 
instead of soldiers. Don't you think that is a good idea? 

" When I spoke to your general at the Peninsula Hotel, he 
said that I must work for peace. That I will do. Whatever 
I can do in Hong Kong to work between representatives of 
Imperial Japan and my countrymen, as well as the British in- 
ternees, I will try my best to do well, for the sake of future 
friendship between all nations." 

At ten the next morning order came that we were all to 
go to concentration camp. Apparently the Japanese High 
Command didn't like my cake without frosting. At that, I pre- 
sume I am lucky that my punishment for speaking out to my 
captors was light. After all, I might have been jailed or shot. 



Chapter XX 

Looted City 



T 

-L HE ORDER to go to Camp Stanley didn't come as a sur- 
prise, but in fact rather as a relief. It had been hanging over 
our heads like a murder threat. I was lonesome and wanted to 
see other people, and I knew it was important that Mr. Arling- 
ton be sent to the hospital. 

Mr. Ogura came about noon, a very perturbed young man* 
I am sure he had felt he was going to be able to keep us out of 
camp, and to get the other writers back into the city. He had 
gone to Colonel Tada when he heard the news, but appar- 
ently could do nothing. Undoubtedly he knew that the Jap 
correspondents in America were at Hot Sulphur Springs in 
luxury, and it was not right that we were being sent to camp. 

As he left me at the foot of the steps, I was touched when he 
said: " Miss Dew, I am very embarrassed, and very ashamed.** 
That was a tremendous admission from a Japanese about or- 
ders from his country. He walked away with bowed head, and 
Til never forget him. 

Mr. Kondo, the University of Michigan Japanese, came 
for us at the appointed time. He was leaving for Canton the 
next day, and he also looked unhappy about our being sent 
into exile. He took us to die boat which was to go across the 
harbor, where a truck was to meet us to take us to Stanley. 

There were a group of British soldiers on the dock, ap- 
parently boys who had come from hospitals and were now 

203 



204 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

being sent to military camps. They were young and fine- 
looking, but thin, and unhappy about the next step, as was 
natural. We gave them what cigarettes we could dig up, al- 
though we were not permitted to talk with them. 

Mrs. Lee had all her trunks with her, and her dogs, besides 
a chest that belonged to one friend, and a trunk of another. 
Then there was the stuff belonging to the rest, in odd bags 
and bundles. By the rime we were all loaded in, we looked 
like a bunch of refugees sitting on their bundles. 

Mr. Kondo waved us good-by from the Kowloon side, 
putting us in charge of a Chinese woman interpreter. There 
was no truck waiting in Hong Kong, so she went to telephone, 
leaving word with the Japanese guard that we were not to 
go beyond the end of the pier. We waited and waited in the 
cold, for it was a dull bitter day, with a discouraging wind 
blowing down the harbor. I was wrapped up in the too-large 
man's coat, but it wasn't warm enough. Mrs. Lee looked com- 
fortable in her fur coat, but everyone's face was red with chill 
before we were through. 

Apparently the people on the Hong Kong side weren't 
much concerned about die new prisoners, for they had for- 
gotten to send the truck, or it had been too full that day to 
take passengers; it was the one which took provisions daily to 
the camp. 

The girl returned, bringing another Chinese girl interpreter, 
saying it had been arranged to send us to the New Asia Hotel 
for the night, and we could go to camp the next day. A truck 
came, with a group of dirty coolies who promptly said they 
wouldn't carry all of Mrs. Lee's heavy trunks and bags and 
chests for less than a dollar apiece. After some argument we 
were all piled in and went sailing through the streets of Hong 
Kong, perched high on top of the luggage in the back end. 

The New Asia Hotel was a small Chinese inn, in a poor 
district, across from Wing On's, a large Chinese department 
store not yet reopened. The hotel was still partially boarded 



LOOTED CITY [ 205 

p, but we were delighted at one tiling the place was clean, 
side from a few rats. I suppose it had been a place of ren- 
ezvous before the war, not quite a brothel, but not too inquisi- 
Lve of its guests 7 credentials. 

There were also room boys, and it seemed good to see clean 
/hite coats and the smiling faces of these landmarks of China. 
)ne helped me get Mr. Arlington into bed, for he was thor- 
oughly chilled by this time and a pretty sick old man. He was 
ent to a hospital in two days' time, much to my relief, for I 
pas greatly worried at his growing weakness. 

On our floor was the office of a Mr. Cheng, who was in 
harge of the American, Dutch, and British internees, acting 
s liaison between the Japanese and those in charge of Camp 
Stanley. He had been employed by the National Qty Bank of 
^ew York before the war, and had done a great deal of YMCA 
vork. I suspected his sympathies were pro-American, and 
#ith Free China, but he had been ordered by the Japs to do 
his job, and he had a family to support. 

One night he told me about the looters coming to his home 
n Kowloon during the first days of the war. He lined his 
arge family wife, children, relatives, and servants around 
the living-room and told them not to move when the hood- 
lums arrived. The first bunch came pounding up the stairs, 
and he opened the door and bowed to them, inviting them to 
enter. This took them by surprise, and they feared a trap of 
some sort. 

" My house is poor,'* said Mr. Cheng, " but I know you are 
poor men too, and this is war-time. Come in and take what 
you will." 

The looters entered, looked around, took some food and 
flour, what money they could find, a few valuables, and left* 
Not long afterwards a second band came, and Mr. Cheng 
did the same thing. They demanded more money. " Some other 
men were here first and took our money, but I will ask if any 
member of my family has more/' His wife said she had saved 



206 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

enough to feed her family the next few days. " Give it to these 
men/* he said, so she obeyed. 

"But I cannot let my children go hungry," she pleaded 
with the leader of the looters. He looked around the room, 
counted the number, and handed back enough to buy 
bread for the next day! These men gave Mr. Cheng a paper 
which said the house was now under the protection of this 
group, and left. 

A third gang came storming up the stairs, and the perform- 
ance was repeated, but this time there did not seem to be any 
money to meet their demands. The men were furious, and it 
looked as though trouble was going to ensue, when the amah 
said she had a few dollars hidden away, and she would give 
them that. The faithful servant then turned over her last few 
pennies. As the horde was leaving they discovered the written 
statement the last group had left, which Mr. Cheng had put 
up inside the room. 

"Why didn't you show us this before? " the leader de- 
manded. 

" I didn't fasten it on the outside because I was afraid some- 
one might tear it down," he explained. The looters took k, 
demanded paste, and stuck it tightly on the outside of the door. 

"You will not be bothered any more," they solemnly as- 
sured the family. " You have paid for your protection." And 
no more groups did ransack this apartment, although they 
continued to come to the floors below! 

Mr. Cheng told me the first time he met me: " I have heard 
a lot of you before the war." He never said more, but I 
guessed he knew of my work to help China for the previous 
four years. I became more sure of this as the days went on 
and we were not hurried off to camp, for he had charge of 
sending the truck with supplies each day and could easily 
have seen that we were sent the next day. 

It seemed strange that first night to ask the room boy to 
order food from a restaurant and have it appear served on a 
table with napkins, salt and pepper and sauce all those things 



LOOTED CITY [ 207 

we had been missing. We could afford only a little, but it was 
a plate of well-cooked rice with vegetables and hot tea. 

Again I became a window-hanger-outer, and since our hotel 
was on a main street, there was much to see. Early in the morn- 
ing the farmers came swinging along in the rhythmical walk- 
trot of the Chinese kborer, with loads of vegetables hanging 
on poles from their shoulders or being wheeled in barrows. 
Then the women with buckets who removed the " night soil n 
from the Chinese buildings near us went on their rounds. Next 
came the Chinese men and women going to their work, which 
was starting again, as the Japanese tried to enforce "business 
as usual." Large two-story British trams, or streetcars, went 
by, loaded with customers. 

Groups of Japanese soldiers passed from time to time, but 
there did not seem to be any regular guards as there had been 
on the Kowloon side. Upon occasion there were Chinese with 
long staves who enforced order, and Indian policemen with 
large badges. It seemed that many of the Indians had swung 
to the Japanese side, but how much this was wish to serve 
Japan and how much desire to survive is hard to tell It was 
evident the Japanese were working with propaganda among 
the Indians, for the papers told many times of Indian meet- 
ings where the necessity of a tie-up between India and Japan 
to work against the white race was stressed. On India's In- 
dependence Day there were special ceremonies and meetings 
arranged by the Japs. 

At five o'clock the little prostitutes would appear on the 
corner. There were about fifteen of them, ranging from four- 
teen to twenty years old, with their amahs. There is a peculiar 
custom in China among this group: these women servants al- 
ways go on the street with the girls, solicit business, drive 
the bargain, and accompany the pair to the brotheL These 
girls were dressed in thin straight Chinese gowns, with high 
heels and bobbed hair. Before business really began they ran 
around chasing one another, laughing, giggling, fooling with 
young Chinese boys who were apparently their friends, acting 



208 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

like any normal girls of their age under ordinary circum- 
stances. As dusk approached they became hard young sirens, 
watching for trade with cool searching eyes. 

I was greatly amused once at watching an aged amah trying 
to strike a bargain for her charge with a very drunken Jap 
soldier. There was much evident haggling, discussion, and 
anger. But finally the Jap agreed to terms and went off not 
with the girl in question, but with the old amah! 

I decided the first morning in the hotel that since I was on 
my way to Camp Stanley anyway, I might as well see what 
I could before that time, for probably this would be my last 
glimpses of Hong Kong for years. I hoped the Jap soldiers, 
if they caught me on the streets without a pass, would do little 
but slap me, or hurry me off more quickly to internment. 
I didn't stop to think about going to jail what was the use? 

So I took a deep breath, and dived nose-f or-news first into 
the Jap city at nine in the morning and did not return until 
three for something to eat. I dug out my last hidden twenty 
dollars, which I had been saving for dire emergency, and had 
that converted into Chinese dollars at such a great discount 
that it made what I bought extremely high. But I wanted to 
buy some things for friends at camp, and I had heard that one 
needed shoes badly. I bought these first, then I got needles and 
thread, laundry soap, soap flakes, stockings, socks, garters, and 
pieces of material. 

Every time a Japanese soldier would look at me, fear jumped 
right through me and zippered up my backbone. All white 
people left in Hong Kong now were supposed to be either 
German, Swiss, Portuguese, Spaniard, or Scandinavian, but 
they all had police cards, and most of diem identification arm- 
bands. I tried to look very nonchalant, as though I had a right 
to be where I was. 

My trips this morning and the succeeding mornings until 
we went to camp were very revealing. The main streets were 
still lined with hawkers, and for virtually miles you could buy 
everything under the rising sun. The looted contents of Hong 



LOOTED CITY [ 209 

Kong houses and shops were spilled out in these street stores, 
and you could find anything you wanted if you went far 
enough. 

I bought some canned stuff, although when the time came, 
the Japs allowed us to take only a few cans to camp. I had 
great fun in looking for the best bargains. One of my biggest 
joys later on was a five-pound tin of jam- and one of Califor- 
nia prunes; they just about saved my life and reason in the 
months to come. 

Evidence of bombing was still to be seen, although work- 
men were digging away at the debris at the Central Market 
on Queen's Road. I was shocked at the huge amount of dam- 
age that had been done to the police station. As I had seen it 
just after it had been bombed, it had looked bad, but I sup- 
posed that was because of die debris and loose fallen brick. 
Now it was evident that die center had been as neady cut out 
as a sharp knife takes a pie out of a tin. There were only the 
outer walls left, and it was a wonder that even more police 
had not been killed. 

My delight was Cat Street, the second-hand heaven, where 
all the good and bad things from the looted houses came to rest. 
In fact there was a whole bevy of such litde streets in this 
hilly section, hidden away in a purely Chinese area. One of 
the streets, which ascended by way of steep stairs, was lined 
with booths, most of diem filled with books. 

Here were books from all the finest libraries in Hong Kong, 
private and public. There were first editions, many of them 
signed, leather-bound and gold-embossed, with steel engrav- 
ings. There were medical and engineering series, complete 
histories and encyclopedias, tomes in every language. I ad- 
mire books, and it was heartbreaking not to be able to buy these 
fine volumes, at such ridiculous prices as from five to fifty 
cents. In some pkces they were sold by the pound to use for 
lighting fires, and among them were many rare books. 

I was able to buy only one, a John Bunyan, for fifteen cents, 
apparently given to a Chinese student in Yale University in 



210 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

1876 by a Stephen Hubbell. There were hundreds of others 
I yearned to own! 

One block, with tables loaded with loot, was boarded off. 
Cut-glass decanters of heavy weight and good quality were 
very popular in Hong Kong in pre-war days, and here were 
hundreds of them, selling for twenty-five cents apiece. There 
were delicate champagne glasses and wine goblets, Swedish 
blown glass or iridescent Italian ware. Ivory carvings of deli- 
cate beauty, unusual pieces of jewelry, scrolls, brocades, all 
mingled with Dunhill pipes, crested cigarette-cases, and ham- 
mered silverware. 

Other tables had electric fixtures ripped from the looted 
homes, bulbs, wires, pkques, along with electric irons, coffee 
urns, toasters. I got an electric iron for a dollar, which later 
in camp served twenty-two people and was considered quite 
priceless. 

A person with a little money could certainly have picked up 
a houseful of valuables in this section, and although I could 
not buy, I did enjoy prowling around. The streets were jammed 
with buyers, neutrals, Axis members, Chinese, and countless 
Jap soldiers. It was a pretty tough section of the city, and I 
was always a little relieved when I got myself out of it. 

Emily Hahn came to visit one morning. " Mickey," as she 
is called, is a literary tradition. I met her first in Paris in 1929, 
then again in Shanghai in 1936. Her books include Seductio 
ad Absurdwn, Congo Solo, Affair, Steps in the Sun, and 
The Soong Sisters, all more or less autobigraphical except the 
last, and" her Chinese sketches in the New Yorker are well 
known. 

Mickey is a kw unto herself, and loves to do things in unique 
and startling ways. She used to smoke black cigars, and was 
famous for her two gibbons, who had complete wardrobes 
down to dinner jackets and fur overcoats. Just before the war 
Mickey had Hong Kong in a dither of social uncertainty be- , 
cause she was having a baby, whose father was Major Charles 
Boxer of die British Intelligence, who had represented the j 



LOOTED CITY [211 

English during the Jap peace mission I encountered, and who 
aras already married. There was never any secrecy about the 
iffair, for Mickey wouldn't have liked that, and she had too 
nany friends in high places for even the staid British colony 
:o ignore, so they accepted the situation. After the baby's 
birth Major Boxfcr registered as the legal father in the Con- 
sulate, and life went on. (Major Boxer's arm was injured dur- 
ing the war, and he was in the hospital for many months.) 

After the surrender of the colony, when the Japs ordered 
all " enemies " to enter concentration camp, Mickey went to 
the Japanese Consul, told him she was married to a Chinese 
and therefore was a Chinese citizen, and didn't have to enter 
camp. She didn't, and is still free in Hong Kong with her young 
daughter. 

I asked Mickey if she could locate a wrap for me, and the 
next day she brought a Japanese officer's coat, made of ex- 
cellent khaki and well tailored. It fitted as though made for 
me, and had a Schiaparelli-ish air with its swagger pockets and 
fitted outline. Mickey said it had been left behind in her apart- 
ment after a Japanese group had occupied it, and she had 
found it when she returned from staying with the Selwyn- 
Clarkes during the siege. I was very appreciative of the gift. 

I wasn't quite sure whether the Japanese on the streets, see- 
ing me wearing this, would question it, or whether they would 
think I W as some sort of special officer about whom they hadn't 
heard. I wore it rather furtively the first day, but it seemed 
to achieve nothing but respect, so after that I marched forth 
boldly wearing my Japanese officer's coat. 

I stopped at the Domei office to see Mr. Ogura, and he 
looked at me in surprise. " You've got a new coat." 

" Oh yes, isn't it good-looking? " I replied. " It is an Eng- 
lish riding-coat." (I thought I'd at least try that angle!) 

He smiled as he answered: " I don't think so, Miss Dew. 
It not only is a Japanese officer's coat, but it happens to belong 
to a member of the press." 

Well, I had at least managed to get the proper uniform for 



212 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

my profession! (This coat is now one of my trophies of the 
war.) 

Another caller was Victor Needa, the Eurasian jockey, 
who had been at Repulse Bay. His wife was a member of the 
Moller shipping family, well known in the Far East, and he 
thought she had managed to get to Australia. To make a liv- 
ing at the present time under Jap rule, he was buying and 
selling various articles, from drugs to clothing. 

We went to his office for luncheon, and I had the first meal 
of the type we're used to in America for three months. After- 
wards I went back to the hotel and was very sick, for my 
stomach had been so long without the right land of food, or 
enough of it, that it could not stand this good food. I found 
that just as your stomach has to become used to too little, it 
rebels just as much when it begins to get regular-sized meals 
again. 

Needa had a Chinese boy cooking for him, who had been 
cook in one of the wealthy English families, but now was 
without work, of course. He offered to cook for Needa, on 
one small electric plate, just for his meals, which gives some 
idea of the straits which these Chinese faced 

I asked Needa to go with me to see the American bankers 
who were held in a near-by hotel. The Japanese had held 
out of camp, in addition to our small group, the American, 
Dutch, and English bankers. They were to help liquidate the 
banks, direct the opening of safety-deposit boxes, and the 
payment of the small amount the Japanese allowed non- 
enemies to draw. 

This hotel was much worse than ours, and I felt very sorry 
for the group when I saw their quarters. They were small 
cubicles strung along the dark corridors, with no windows, 
and the walls did not reach to the ceiling, thus allowing no 
privacy. Each day the bankers were marched to their offices 
under guard, and marched back again, and often slapped. 
Otherwise they were not allowed outside except on the roof. 
This went on for six months, and although they managed to 



LOOTED CITY [ 213 

at and drink better than the internees at camp, they were a 
allid and sickly-looking lot when they joined us at sailing 
ime. 

One of the young bankers, Don O'Kieffe, had rescued the 
Lalf-dozen movie films I had left at the American Club, the 
>ries a member of the Consulate had refused to take, and had 
managed to hold on to them during the war and up until this 
ime. I had him turn over the films to Mr. Needa, f eeling that 
ince he came under the neutral classification, he might be 
ble to keep them for me. I knew my small amount of luggage 
vas being searched from time to time, and films were contra- 
>and, of course. 

After visiting various banker friends, we left the hotel and 
talked for a few blocks along the Bund. Jap gunboats were 
n the harbor, and the waterfront was well guarded with sol- 
iiers and barbed-wire barricades. 

The streets were mostly deserted, and strangely quiet for a 
Chinese section. I saw a bundle lying on the curb, and directed 
M eeda, who had not seen it, to walk around it. 

In a bright litde red coat and bonnet was a tiny starved 
Chinese baby abandoned in death, probably by a starving 
mother, looking up at the compassionate skies with black 
staring eyes. Its wee fingers were clasped around a single blade 
of dried grass* 



Chapter XXI 

Rule of the Rising Sun 



-ONG KONG was in a transition stage, tinder enemy 
control, and to be free for even a few weeks to see it was a 
shining streak of luck. Here was a hundred-year-old British 
colony being converted by the little men in the greenish uni- 
forms into another cog in die machine of the expanding Japa- 
nese Empire. 

Certain things were happening: stores were opening; offices 
which had been British were being converted into Japanese 
ones. Leaders in the Chinese population found it expedient 
to form a "Rehabilitation Committee," supposedly to help 
the Chinese population adapt itself to the New Order. Among 
the men on the committee were Sir Robert Hotung and Sir 
Shouson Chow, of whom I have written before. 

There were certain things die Japanese hadn't been able 
to stop the sudden death of scattered soldiers; the fluctua- 
tion of money, which is still chaotic almost a year after occu- 
pation; a passive resistance with which the Japanese could 
not cope. 

This was evident in one order, under the guise of " Advice 
issued to all workers of the Public Department," which I 
copied: 

With a view to enable Chinese and third nationals 'work- 
ing tender him to understand futty the true policy of the Govern- 
ment, Mr. T. Oojima, Chief of the Land Communications Depart- 

214 



RULE OF THE RISING SUN [ 215 

ment and Acting Chief of the Public Works Department, issued 
the following statement yesterday: 

Since the occupation of Hong Kong by the Nipponese 
troops you have given your co-operation in restoring various ac- 
tivities here. To such services here, I wish to express herewith my 
appreciation. 

At present, the construction of a new Hong Kong has 
made good progress. But both in the expansion of the Kai-Tek 
Aerodrome, and the resumption of the entire Canton-Kowloon 
Railway Service, further efforts are required of those of you with 
technical knowledge. 

The Nipponese troops have made swift progress in their 
attacks on Britain and America, and very soon the same quick of- 
fensive will be launched against India, Australia and Canada. Such 
a state of affairs, I believe, has been perfectly realized by all of 
you. 

However, in the construction of the various enterprises 
in Hong Kong the same high speed is required in order to bring 
about this early accomplishment. In your work in future the fol- 
lowing points are worth remembering: 

1. You must not forget that Hong Kong has been 
changed into Nipponese territory since Nippon's war with Britain. 
Frequently, there are people who make unreasonable demands be- 
cause they have forgotten die above reality. 

2. You have been saved from molestation by desperate 
characters, and have been given the chance to continue your peace- 
ful occupation here because of the peace preservation efforts taken 
by the Nippon troops. The latter have never relaxed their vigi- 
lance in this respect, whether at night or during rains or storms, 
and whether on the border, on Nioigamine or at sea. You people 
may meet with some inconvenience when you are being searched 
in the streets, but in carrying out these duties the troops are only 
out to protect your livelihood here. Therefore, on occasions like 
these when you are being searched you should be polite toward 
the troops. 

3. Assuming that the Nipponese troops had first attacked 
the Philippines, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, and had de- 
layed the offensive against Hong Kong, the British and American 
enterprises here would have been deadlocked, and all imports to 



2l6 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Hong Kong would have been stopped. If that had been the case, the 
Chinese in Hong Kong would have suffered considerable hard- 
ships. If you should think over this well, it will be realized imme- 
diately the treatment you are now getting here cannot be said to 
be unequalled. 

4. All employees must understand that they will be pun- 
ished if they misbehave themselves, and do such things as accept- 
ing bribes or other similar misconducts. 

Several more rules followed, and then the last: 

Employees must carry out their duties faithfully and with 
confidence, and what they can do today must not be left for to- 
morrow. In other words, they must carry out their work with 
enthusiasm in order not to disappoint the expectations of die 
authorities. 

Regarding your present positions and treatment, I will 
give full consideration towards their improvement. Now that you 
have participated with Nippon in the construction of East Asia, 
you should be very proud of yourselves. Your accomplishment in 
this respect will be admired by future generations. Because of this, 
you should continue your present work with courage. 

/ 

I think this was an excellent example of the iron hand in the 
velvet glove. Undoubtedly it indicated the fact that Chinese 
were being forced to work for the Japanese, but were stalling 
as much as they could, and perhaps even sabotaging various 
projects. The Japs as yet did not want to order mass punish- 
ment, but unless full co-operation was given it was evident it 
would be forthcoming. 

When the new Japanese Governor-General arrived to rule 
the colony, there was much celebration. The first time he 
came across from the headquarters in the Peninsula Hotel in 
Kowloon, every curtain along the entire route he was traveling 
was ordered drawn and every person was commanded to leave 
the streets. Truckloads of Japanese soldiers with machine guns 
patrolled to see this rule was carried out. Chinese police with 
staves were stationed at every corner and every fifty yards along 



RULE OF THE RISING SUN [ 217 

the way. As usual, I had a slit in my curtain, from which I was 
watching with my camera. 

No one is supposed to look down on a Japanese soldier or 
official, as that is looking down on a representative of the 
Emperor, and thus on the Emperor himself. If anyone had 
been caught, he would have been shot. 

Another afternoon the Governor came to one of the thea- 
ters for his official reception by the leaders of the Chinese 
community. The streets were massed with people this time, the 
streetcars were flower-trimmed, and flags of the Rising Sun 
were everywhere. 

I made my way to within a short distance of the route, 
which was blocked off, just in time to see a full-length drama. 
A Japanese soldier on duty saw a Portuguese step from the 
curb to cross the street. TTie Portuguese had an official arm- 
band, and thought he had the right to pass. The litde Jap 
soldier didn't agree and shot him. 

The bullet, most unfortunately for the Jap, only went 
through the Portuguese's shoulder, and then went on to embed 
itself in a Japanese officer's heart. Death was instantaneous, and 
it seemed as though the following^ events were almost simul- 
taneous also. 

The litde soldier was immediately surrounded, his insignia 
were ripped off, and he was down on his hands and knees beg- 
ging for his life from his superior officer. Jap soldiers with tapes 
began measuring, and the section was roped off in three winks* 
time. The dead officer and the pleading soldier were loaded 
into a truck and hurried off and I imagine there were two 
very dead Japs not long afterwards. 

As for me, I just turned around and went straight back to 
my hotel room in a tremendous hurry. 

The Hong Kong Hotel, which had been the city's social 
heart, was now the headquarters of Japanese officers. At both 
entrances were high circular sandbag barricades, with Jap sol- 
diers with fixe bayonets standing guard. 

The Gloucester Hotel was changed to the Matsubara Hotel, 



2l8 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

its rates had jumped, Japanese food was served, and only 
wealthy guests could afford to go there. The Japs were the 
only ones with money now. Needa took us one afternoon, 
and several sandwiches and tea cost four dollars. 

I went into the office building where the various newspapers 
had been housed. A Japanese and Chinese staff were at work, 
and at the desk formerly occupied by my friend Stuart Gray, 
editor of the Hong Kong Telegraph, was a Japanese in uni- 
form, now editor of the Hong Kong News. 

I covered every street for a radius of three miles, and knew 
more about Hong Kong when I was through than I had in all 
my previous months there. I went down streets I would not 
have dreamed of entering before because they had looked too 
narrow and dirty, but I felt I must avail myself now of this ex- 
ceptional and final opportunity. 

There was one street, a block long, which was boarded up 
at both ends, with just a small doorway going into it. It looked 
mysterious and a litde dangerous, but I ventured in and found 
one of the most delightful Chinese byways IVe ever visited 
Silk Street. It was lined with shops filled from floor to ceiling 
with a million bolts of exquisite Chinese silks, and bowing 
Chinese in rich robes stood behind the counters. 

One steep street was filled with food of every description, 
but I have no powers to tell you of the dark masses of eels, 
the baskets of snakes, the mad-looking fish, and the queer- 
shaped vegetables which stared blank-eyed at me as I passed. 
The smell not only went to high heaven, but seeped down to 
low hell, I'm sure. 

Every few blocks I would find ragged remnants of build- 
ings which had been blasted to chaired bits, by sticks of dyna- 
mite dropped from the skies. Here you knew death had been 
a constant visitor, and those who scratched at the debris were 
not looking for materials, but for remains of men. 

Stores which had not been looted were being denuded of 
their stocks by buyers who realized that when tilings were 
gone, there would be no more shipments of American drugs, 



RULE OF THE RISING SUN [ 

French perfumes, English woolens, Australian meats. 

There was a pots and pans street; a firewood street, where 
I saw sticks of fragrant wood which had obviously been hacked 
out of someone's fine sandalwood-lined rooms, being sold for 
fires; an old-clothes street; a tea street; a grocery street; an 
herb and medicine street. 

There were Chinese beggars, some of whom held dead or 
dying babies in their arms; others who threw themselves on the 
sidewalks in frenzies, frothing at the mouth, groaning, moan- 
ing, spitting. 

People looked at me with surprised eyes, for I guess I did 
appear American despite my Jap coat, and everyone knew 
that all Americans were supposed to be in internment camp. 
Once in a great while Fd meet someone I had known before 
the war Scandinavian, French, and one American, Albert 
Fitch, who was driving a supply truck into camp. We stopped 
for a furtive minute of talk and then hurried on. 

A group of men remained out of camp to drive supply 
trucks into camp. They were threatened and mistreated many 
times, but bravely carried on in face of all obstacles. They in- 
dudgj^the Americans Dr. Robert Henry, John Morton, Carl 
Tepnul, Eugene Pawley, Charles Schaef er, Charles Winter, 
and the Britisher R. T. Owens-Evans. 

These men secured passes to work under the Hong Kong 
Medical Department. During the next half-year they tracked 
350 cubic tons of food from Hong Kong to the camp, and 
800,000 tons of firewood to the various hospitals. They were 
free from camp free to see two hundred Chinese die on the 
streets each twenty-four hours, from cholera, smallpox, dysen- 
tery, starvation, and Jap bullets. Free to watch the Japs close 
Jjajf of the fourteen Hong Kong hospitals, to experience the 
vi^ueeze" the Japs exercised in their control of hotels, res- 
taurants, utilities, and food. In other words, the New Ord& 
of Peace and Prosperity in the Far East! 

Once I saw James Lee, a Chinese I had known in America. 
He must have lost forty pounds, and looked tired and dis- 



220 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

couraged. I gave him a minute nod, but put my fingers across 
my lips, as I knew the neutrals, as the Japs classified the Chinese 
in Hong Kong, were not supposed to talk to " enemies," and 
were punished if they were apprehended. 

In fact, the orders which the Japanese had laid down for 
the rule of the Chinese in Hong Kong were strange and won- 
derful, and are among the treasured things I smuggled out 
of camp. There were seventy-nine of them. Here are some: 

Persons transgressing any of the following items 'will be 
liable to imprisonment under three months or a fine not exceeding 
Yen -500: 

i. Refusal to attend to an official summons without cause. 

5. Falsely assuming an official rank or title or a scholastic 
tide, or falsely wearing medals or orders. 

9. Obstructing any traffic route by blocking it with car- 
riages, carts, cars, boats, furniture, or any other object which may 
constitute an obstruction. 

10. Making any unnecessary noise lying down or getting 
drunk in any place of free traffic. 

14. Doing anything which will obstruct the flow of a 
stream or a drain. 

17. Failing to chain up a fierce dog or any other fierce 
animaL 

1 8. Without a good reason, releasing another person's 
boat, raft, cow, horse, or any other animal. 

23. Desecrating temples, Buddhist halls or churches, 
graves, monuments, statues and other similar objects. 

24. Practicing singing, dancing, music or making any 
other noise in the late hours at night. 

26. Giving a performance which is harmful to public 
safety and good customs. 

27. Circulating false reports and rumors with the object 
of deceiving other people. 

28. Making inflammatory and unreliable statements and 
adopting a conduct harmful to the public order. 

29. Delivering speeches concerning political affairs or 
other affairs causing confusion in political affairs, out-of-doors. 



RULE OF THE RISING SUN [ 221 

30. Using inflammable material for building purposes 
without obtaining permission. 

31. Burning fires in the vicinity of a house, other build- 
ing, inflammable goods, or a mountain or field. 

32. Firing crackers without permission. 

34* Hiding in an unoccupied house or unwatched build- 
ing or ships, 

35. Loitering anywhere without a fixed address or em- 
ployment. 

36. Acting badly or interfering in a place of worship, 
celebration or procession. 

37. Taking fruits and vegetables or cutting trees and 
flowers in a public ground or another person's field or garden. 

40. Holding in possession, or purchasing or selling, or 
receiving and delivering smuggled and illegal goods. 

41. Practicing hypnotism on a person. 

43. Practicing gambling and similar conduct. 

45. Illegally making and using another person's name 
cards, etc. 

46. Wearing strange clothing, or talking and behaving in 
a queer manner, and loitering and refusing an official order. 

47. Following a person without a lawful reason and pur- 
suing him. 

48. Being a beggar, or compelling another person to act 
as a beggar. 

49. Acting wrongly toward another person's business, 
or obstructing it. 

50. Preventing another person tendering, or forcibly re- 
questing another to join in tendering, or obtaining a share of busi- 
ness or money profits from a successf ul tenderer. 

52. Selling poisonous drugs, or selling and handling diem 
^ithout permission. 

54. Collecting filth and dust in one's house so as to en- 
danger public health. 

55. Making water in street, park and other publicly vis- 
ible peaces, or compelling another person to do so. 

57. Deceiving tie public with false statements foretelling 
good or evil fortune, or supplying the public with charms or giv- 
ing people charms to carry on their person. 



222 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

58. Obstructing medical attention by supplying persons 
with charms and religious potions. 

60. Committing prostitution, or acting as intermediary in 
committing prostitution. 

61. Being naked or acting in a disgraceful manner in a 
public place. 

62. Harboring on one's own premises some young or 
old disabled, sick persons in need of some help without reporting 
them, or having dead corpses without reporting them to the au- 
thorities. 

63. Camouflaging a human dead body, or holding au- 
topsy, or burying or cremating without permission. 

64. Burying or cremating outside of a public graveyard 
or cremating pkce. 

65. Discarding without reason the carcass of a dead ani- 
mal, or any other filthy matter, or contravening the health regu- 
lations. 

67. Displaying or selling unripe or rotten fruit or rotten 
meat or other harmful edible or drinkable substance for a profit. 

68. Selling or handling birds or ani-mals that have died of 
sickness, for food. 

70. Refusing as doctors or midwives to attend the call of 
sick persons or pregnant women about to give birth to a child. 

73. Unreasonable oppressing or obstructing a servant by 
master. * 

74. Disobeying any orders issued by the police. 

BY ORDER OF THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT 

Some of the rules are obvious and reasonable, but underly- 
ing many of them are instructions to the Chinese ^> lead the 
Japanese way of life, or else. . . . The necessity of even, 
issuing some of these rules indicates die Chinese were taking 
their own little ways of annoying their new masters, the men 
of mighty Nippon with their fixed bayonets and their hand- 
grenades. 

All of this time I had been tinkering with the idea of trying 
to dude these same little Nips by attempting to escape into 
Free China. I even went into the matter of prices, which 



RULE OF THE RISING SUN [ 223 

ranged from $200 to $2,000, neither of which I had. Many 
wealthy Chinese were escaping by junk, only to be high- 
jacked by pirates near the city. Moreover, I felt my story 
would not be complete unless I went into the concentration 
camp and saw the bitter conclusion of the fall of Hong Kong, 
and what we can expect of the Japs when they are victors in 
any part of the world. 



Chapter XXII 

Prison Bound 



JL TOOK full advantage of my respite and watched the 
busy little Japs taking everything of value out of Hong Kong, 
setting up a military government, clearing the city of almost 
a million Chinese, and scaring the rest into subjection. It was 
a shift from the rule of the Empire of Great Britain to that of 
the Empire of the Rising Sun, the country with ambitions to 
become the world's largest empire. 

A few Chinese managed to whisper to me words of sabotage; ' 
of preparations going on in secret for the day when war 
would be waged again over Hong Kong; of an underground 
reaching from this city through miles of Japanese-controlled 
China to the capital of Free China in Chungking, While there 
are many Wang Ching-wei Chinese in the city, there are also 
hundreds of thousands on the side of Chiang Kai-shek. They 
are quiet now, but the time will come when they will appear 
in their true colors. 

I don't imagine the Japs have full confidence in the Chinese 
who have apparently swung to their side. After all, these men 
had sold their souls for money in deserting their own country, 
so what could be expected in the way of true and lasting loyalty 
to Japan? 

Madame Wang Ching-wei visited Hong Kong and was 
given much publicity. She was accompanied by other mem- 
bers of die puppet Nanking regime, but I noticed she was 

224 



PRISON BOUND [ 225 

always escorted by a large group of Japanese soldiers and 
officials, who never let her out of sight. She is reputed to be a 
ruthless woman, making millions out of her country's plight 
and her Quisling proclivities. 

Mr. Ogura was making efforts with the gendarmerie, who 
controlled our movements since we had left Kowloon, to let 
us remain in Hong Kong, but we knew it was only delaying 
the evil day. Mrs. Lee had been allowed to join her husband 
on the British Governor's colonial staff, which was being held 
together to complete the turning over of government matters 
to Japan. 

Our group had dwindled again " Three little Indians . . . 
two litde Indians. . . ." 

I kept wishing I had money with which I could buy things 
to take to camp. Needa, hearing my sighs, said: " I can't ad- 
vance you any money, because I'm broke. But I can get ma- 
terial for you if you will accept the responsibility of it all 



back into town to pay for all this. And, above all, if the things 
are confiscated on die way to Stanley by the Japs, you will 
still be charged with them and if you are put in jail because 
you are found with them, I can do nothing." 

A happy thought indeed, but I had heard how desperately 
people in Stanley needed everything, so it seemed worth try- 
ing. Many in camp had money, but couldn't buy even a 
needle if they needed it. The Japanese had allowed nothing 
to go to the internees in the way of dothes since their im- 
prisonment, now stretching into the third month, and with 
tropical hot weather coming on, 

Dr. Selwyn-Qarke, who had been in charge of the British 
Public Health Service before the war, had managed to get 
the Japanese to allow him to continue his work after occupa- 
tion, thus probably avoiding epidemics and attendant troubles 
of war and death. He was allowed some contact with camp, 
but could not take in any medical supplies or clothes. He, like 
the few others who were left "outside" by die Japanese, 



226 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

were termed " pro-Japanese " by some shortsighted internees. 
They did not realize that the doctor, and the others who lived 
in Hong Kong in the shadow of the ruthlessness of the Japs, 
were actually taking their lives in their hands daily to help 
their fellow countrymen who were prisoners and could not 
help themselves. I think by the time I left camp in June, Dr. 
Selwyn-Clarke, and the rest who had been trying to assist, 
were better understood and appreciated. People like this don't 
do things to be " appreciated," but they don't mind not being 
damned for it either, I know. 

It was this doctor who had made up a list of the articles needed 
most seriously in camp, and from it were selected the things 
I was going to try to smuggle in under the Jap soldiers' wide- 
nostriled noses. 

So when the day came with word that we were to be sent 
immediately to Stanley, I was ready and loaded with dynamite, 
as it were. I had very litde of my own to carry, so the four 
additional duffle bags I had acquired didn't look too suspicious. 
Inside them were six hundred yards of khaki, two hundred 
pairs of khaki three-quarter stockings, a hundred pairs of 
shorts, several dozen shirts, a hundred scarves, needles, thread, 
buttons, elastic. In addition, I bought some few medical sup- 
plies and other necessities. The canvas bags had my name on 
them in big letters, so there was not to be much doubt who was 
bringing in all the contraband if it was apprehended. 

I had been told all of this time that I could keep my cameras 
and films. I had hidden much of my film before die surrender; 
some was distributed around Hong Kong, some was in the 
office of the British Ministry of Information, who burned 
evterything the day they fled to Chungking before surrender 
on Christmas Day. Thus I had with me only what I had taken 
from the time we left Repulse Bay on through that deadly trek, 
from the windows of the looted paint factory and the Kowloon 
Hotel, and what I had managed to expose furdrely during 
these last few weeks. Now Mr. Ogura reported thai? Colonel 
Tada had learned the gendarmerie would take away my cam- 



PRISON BOUND [ 227 

eras in camp, so I had better leave them in Hong Kong. I 
could choose my place to deposit them, and when I was sent 
home, or the war was over, I could have them again. 

I had been unable to get in touch with any Chinese friends, 
and about the only person I trusted was Mr. Needa, so I turned 
over my four cameras, tripod, and films to him. He was a neu- 
tral, he had been brave at Repulse Bay, and we all felt he had 
saved our lives when the Japanese first came, by his calmness, his 
knowledge of the language, and the way he handled things. 

I had hung onto these cameras through thick and thin, at a 
time when everyone said it was impossible, that they would 
be the first thing the Jap soldiers would take from me. I carried 
them, forty-five pounds of equipment, around my neck on that 
ten-mile trek, and on each succeeding move. You can imagine 
how sad I felt now to let them go. I felt that my hands were 
being cut off, but since I had no wish to have a bayonet ex- 
plore my insides, I obeyed orders. Needa promised to put the 
equipment in his safe and hold it for further instructions. I 
prayed that he would, for unless I got my pictures out, I knew 
there would never be a true movie of the fall of Hong Kong, 
because I was the only non-Japanese who had made a com- 
plete record of it. Well, it's all gone and I wake up coundess 
nights t-fimlrfng about those pictures neither you nor I will 
ever see. 

As I was boosted onto the track I bade good-by to those 
cameras and films, and perhaps it was a gdbd thing I had all 
that contraband on board to occupy my mind from there on. 
I decided immediately I would never be a good smuggler, for 
that stuff certainly was agitating my mind, although I hoped 
not my face. 

Just before we left, Mr. Ogura taught me a Japanese phrase 
to say to aay tough gendarmes, and so I concentrated on re- 
peating that over and over: " Onegd shhnasu, onegai sbimasu? 
which roughly means: " Please be careful with my luggage." 

On the track were a Chinese woman and two children go- 
ing to camp to join a British husband and father. There were 



228 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

also two ^Englishmen, Mr. L. Guy and Mr. Lawrence, who 
had been brought out of camp by the Japanese civilian govern- 
ment to restart the soda factory belonging to Watson's Phar- 
macy. The Jap navy had taken control first, however, and 
weren't going to relinquish it to the civilian department, and 
so the fight went on for weeks. In the meantime the two men 
were confined in our hotel, not even allowed on the street, 
and so they were anxious to get back to camp, where they 
could at least walk about. 

The truck was piled high with bags and bundles and boxes, 
and the trunk and chest which originally had been in Mrs. 
Lee's care, left behind by her to see if we could get them into 
camp to their owners. 

Crowds gathered to watch the white prisoners being sent 
off to the yellow man's jail, and we must have been a pretty 
amusing sight. Mr. Guy had on a soldier's brown campaign 
hat I had found somewhere, Wilson a too big fuzzy one with a 
feather in it that Needa had given him, and my head was tied 
up with a white hand-towel scarf. We were perched on the 
bundles like monkeys in a high cage. With an insulting roar of 
the motor we were off tJiis time headed direcdv into concen- 
tration camp, not to be released until the war 4ras over or an 
exchange of prisoners arranged. 

I think Japanese truck-drivers belong to the same category 
as American ones, for they love to cut corners and take curves 
at a high rate of speed, and show an intense desire to shake 
everything in the truck into a complete hash. OUT driver was 
no exception, and since we had nothing to cling to but one 
another, most of the way we looked liketiufootball squad at 
the height of a touchdown pile-up. 

We passed the thousands of cars parted in Happy Valley, 
up onto the same curving mountainatos road I'd traveled in 
peace and war. This road winds through my Hong Kong 
experiences like the pattern thread in a tapestry, through dark 
tones and light, sunshine and shadow. As we^jcjdded 
one curve a box on the rear end flevj- off and 



PRISON BOUND [ 

stopped to rescue it. Later Wilson's hat took off into the air, 
and a Chinese coolie along die road caught it and started to 
run, fearing his manna from heaven would be reclaimed. We 
didn't stop for that. 

On the side of the hill we passed a mission which had been 
shelled, and almost all of the fathers killed, an estimated num- 
ber of fifty. Again we passed through the various Japanese 
barricades guarded by the little slant-eyed men with the big 
straight guns. Over the top we went, looking down once more 
on that exquisite sun and seascape, with die majesty of the 
highest point, the Peak, as a backdrop, and the island-punc- 
tuated sapphire sea in front of us far below. 

We passed the grim guards at the corner of Repulse Bay 
Hotel, and I looked for the last time at this place which had 
played such a large part in the history of my life in 1936 and 
1941, as well as in die history of the British Empire. It was 
silent and waiting, and some day I hope to see it again when, 
we have won die peace. 

On beyond the hotel we went, along the curving road I used 
to walk daily to pick flowers and watch die sea. It was through 
these hills the Jap snipers had slid aafeng the bushes like silent 
sinuous snakes killing and wriggling onward. Then into the 

o ^5O *? 

Iklte fishing village of Stanley, a typical Chinese spot, with a 
harbor filed with junks and sampans with tattered sails. There 
had been devastating shell-fire here from die hills above, where 
British and Japanese guns had blasted away, and some shells 
'had dropped in the heart of the town, killing or maiming. At 
th^xfast there had been hand-to-hand fighting through the 
streets as the British retreated block by block back toward Fort 
Stanley, at-atuffng sentinel on the high promontory overlook- 
ing the sea. 

At the edge of the town we were stopped, and now my heart 
began to do a double-quick dance, for the test was coming. 
Jail or no jail, I had got past the other sentries, but these meant 
business,! could see, and it was their particular job to inspect 
the baggage of incomers. We were ordered off die truck, and 



230 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Chinese women wardens searched my person for guns, I 
suppose. 

I tried not to pay too much attention to the track and the 
inspection going on there. Thank heaven, my things were 
down below some heavier bags, so the others were inspected 
first. There were several tough Indian police poking around, 
and a few Japanese soldiers. One of the Indians pointed to one 
of my bags and found that it was locked with a safety pad- 
lock. He called for its owner, and I walked forward with lead 
in my shoes. 

I fumbled in my pocketbook, I searched in my pockets, and, 
my goodness, it was hard to find the key! I started taking 
everything out of my bag again, shrugging my shoulders at 
the police as much as to say: " These women never keep things 
in order, and always lose keys. Stupid, that's all." I finally 
found the key after much fiddling, and the soldier opened the 
bag, but had apparently tired of me and mine by this time*and 
just stuck his gun down in it once or twice, ran his hand over 
it to hunt for weapons, and waved it away in disgust. It's: 
" Womea are such bothers, don't you knpw? " even in the 
Indian's psychology. The Jap soldier looked at the outside 
of the rest of the duffel bags, at me, and moved on. 

I could hardly believe the ordeal was over, and my legs felt 
like wobbly jelly as I climbed back on the truck. I had passed 
.the test, and my contraband was safely inside the camp, for by 
tKsutime the truck had speeded up, passed between high stone 
gates guarded by turbaned S&khs and smug small Jap soldiers. 

I was in Gamp Stanle^yTOw a prisoner of the* Japs in every 
sense of the Word! 

I had dreaded this minute for so many weeks that I couldn't 
quite understand the feeling of release that was flooding up 
inside me. I was entering jaU, bad yet I felt suddenly freed. It 
was not until I had more time to analyze this that I realized its 
meaning: from the time I was captured, on December 23, on 
through the months, I had fceen in Jm\ I nit contact with the 
Japs, my enemy; we were prisoners in a snail hotel and 



PRISON BOUND [23! 

surrounded; when the others went to camp, I was directly in 
the hands of the Japs, with only a few other white people 
free in the city of a million; I was under constant surveillance, 
and there was always the danger that I might be jailed, mis- 
treated, tortured, or even killed on the street, and no one would 
know what had happened to me. Before, I had been one lone 
American among thousands of enemy Japanese; now I was 
among friends and allies. 

I was inside a concentration camp of 3,500 people, and the 
Japs were mostly outside, looking in, of course, but inter- 
ested only in keeping us inside, and not particular about what 
happened to us in the meantime. The walls that separated us 
from the world also separated us from much contact with our 
capturers. 

In other words, I was now once again in a white man's town, 
surrounded by British and American and Dutch, and the re- 
lentless uncertainty of the day-to-day existence in Hong 
Kong, where anything might be, and was, happening, was 
over. Food, no matter how scarce, would come to me daily, 
while in Hong Kong I might have starved, and Mr. Arling- 
ton with me, for all anyone cared. If I had been sick the Japs 
would not have provided medical attention. In camp, while 
there was no medicine, there were doctors who would try to 
help, and friends who would watch* 

I hadn't realized what a coat of fear had sheathed my heart 
during jfhe time I had remained behind at the order of the 
Japanese High Command, until it began to melt like winter 
snow as tyg drew through the camp. We went first along a 
wide road, r^raied Roosevelt Avenue; I found, and here and 
there people waved and shouted greetings at us, as though we 
were returning to college after a vacation. 

The truck began to dimb a hill, and we passed a mother and 
a small boy, who screamed a welcome at us. It was Josephine 
Greenland and Derek, whose cheeks had begun to regain some 
color from the sun and outdoors. 



Before the administration building, on die highest point over- 
TV* 



232 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

looking the camp, we stopped and unloaded. The building 
had been half blown away by a shell, but flowers still grew 
around it, and a hibiscus hedge was red-starred with waxen 
blossoms. 

Mr. Cheng, of the New Asia Hotel, had written a card to 
the head of die camp, another Mr. Cheng, who was his cousin, 
telling him that we were good friends and to help us as much 
as possible. I still think this dates back to his knowledge that 
I had been a friend of Free China, and that was where his 
sympathies actually lay, although he was working for the 
Japanese Empire. So while the luggage of the rest was being 
searched, mine was passed by unopened, and again a miracle 
saved that precious material which was later going to clothe 
hundreds of people in camp. 

In a few minutes word spread around the camp that we had 
arrived, and before we were finished with inspection friends 
were there to greet us Hugo Mkdinich and George Dank- 
werth, who had been at Repulse Bay Hotel; T. B. Wilson and 
Fay Booth and others of the American President Line, who had 
been at the Kowloon Hotel; and many I had met in various 
pkces along the bloody Hong Kong trail. 

I was still a little bit stunned by my feeling of release and 
freedom. I was now inside a concentration camp which I knew 
housed hunger and lack of vital necessities, but there were 
green trees and flowers, wide spaces, a warm sky above, and a 
friendly sea surrounding us, and even the Japs couldn't take 
that away from us here. There was something on which to feed 
our souls, if not our bodies, and it is better to have that than 
nothing, Fve found. 

In addition, I was out of sight and sound of too many damned 
Japs. I was with my own people, even if it meant living in 
human bondage. Come what might in the months or years 
ahead, I was with those who believed in fighting for the right 
of men to live in freedom and equality. 



Chapter XXIII 

By Right of Conquest 



-L HAVE an idea that when the Japs finished gathering all 
the Allies together after surrender, they hissed to themselves 
through their gold-filled teeth: " What on earth are we going 
to do with all these prisoners? " 

Then someone bowed and replied. " Where is there a place 
big enough in which to dump all the useless white people? " 

After a few minutes' thought the answer came: " Stanley 
Peninsula. It sticks out in the sea, and so escape won't be easy, 
and its too cold and windy now, and too hot and sun-beaten 
later on. It is far away from Hong Kong, so the Chinese can't 
very easily smuggle in help. And some buildings there haven't 
been too badly smashed by shells." 

The third little Jap may have asked: " Are there enough 
supplies for all those men, women, and children? " 

" What if there aren't? " the top officer would have replied. 
" We don't care what becomes of them, so long as we get them 
out of our sight in Hong Kong. Let them figure things our for 
themselves. We'll dump a bit of food there, enough to keep 
them alive, although we don't care if they die. So sorry, please, 
but to Hades with all people of the white race." 

So Stanley it was, and I don't suppose a group of 3,500 
people were ever dumped so unceremoniously into a place, 
without previous thought or preparation, and left to shift for 
themselves without the slightest aid being given to them* 

233 



234 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

When the internees first arrived, they found evidences 
of violent fighting still unrepaired. Roofs of houses, corners of 
buildings, windows, roads, had all been marked by shell or 
shrapnel. 

Many British bodies had been left in one bungalow where 
hand-to-hand fighting had gone on, and more were found 
under bushes or in gullies. The Japanese had cremated their 
dead, but left the Canadians and British to rot, for they re- 
fuse to honor even the dead of other nations. For months 
there was one body on the beach that no one could reach 
outside the barbed-wire barricade, and the Japs refused to 
let a burial party, under guard, go to it. Four months after we 
had been in camp, a withered arm was found on top of one 
of the houses. 

The area that was to become our home, called Camp Stan- 
ley, was on a rocky peninsula, ending in a high cliffed promon- 
tory. Just beyond us was Fort Stanley, which had been the 
original reason for erecting any buildings here. Then houses 
had been built; later the British had erected a modern jail, a 
college and school had been developed, and apartment houses 
for the wardens and minor Indian civil servants had been added. 
Adjoining us, but on the mainland, was the small Chinese fish- 
ing village called Stanley. The section was hilly, and the 
dunbing was precipitous hard on weakened legs and hearts. 

In one section the British had built seven apartments to house 
260 Indian civil servants. The Japanese now herded 780 Brit- 
ishers there, most from the finest section of Hong Kong, the 
Peak. I think they took particular glee in putting those who 
had lived in the best surroundings into the worst now. This 
was the least desirable section, because it w^s low and without 
a breeze. Parts of it had been badly blasted away and could not 
be repaired. The toilet facilities were extremely inadequate, 
perhaps even for the Indians before, so it was not a pleasant 
situation now. 

On the top of one steep hill was St. Stephen's College, of 
which the classrooms were turned into dormitories. As many 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 235 

as twenty men lived in one room, sleeping on the floor, or on 
improvised beds made out of doors or boxes, or whatever the 
owner's ingenuity created. In another building the British 
police were placed 

Three small bungalows near by held 45 to 50 people apiece. 
Two of my good friends, Lucile Eichenbaum and Margaret 
Jay, lived on the open porch of one, and were always being 
rained on, blown out by small typhoons, or frozen. Someone 
finally built a low wall for them out of remains of other build- 
ings, and this formed some sort of protection. 

On an opposite hill was the group of buildings which housed 
most of the British and Americans. These were apartment 
buildings, and every single room, from kitchens to entry halls, 
was occupied. In fact it was considered quite a prize if you 
got a servant's room, because these were so tiny it was impossi- 
ble to put more than two in them. Imagine an existence where 
a room six by seven feet is considered the choicest place! 

In the living-rooms of most of the apartments eight or ten 
people lived, men and women thrown together, often with 
three or four children. As many as 82 used one toilet in these 
quarters. 

Only a comparatively small number of internees had brought 
army cots, because no one had any warning or any idea of 
the treatment to be accorded them, but the Japanese never 
recognized the need of furnishing sleeping equipment for their 
prisoners. Seventy-five per cent slept on the floor, on narrow 
army cots, or on beds made of slabs of wood raised from the 
floor by blocks of stones taken from blasted buildings. Every- 
one tried to get his body away f rbm the floor at night, if pos- 
sible, because of the scorpions which infested the camp. 

Between the two hills was what we called " the American 
dub." It had been a recreation building and club, and 50 
American men were billeted there. They had the best place in 
camp, because their rooms were more fully equipped, the 
building was in better repair, and there was a complete kitchen 
in running order when they moved in. Food-preparation was 



236 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

immediately taken over by Gingles, an ex-navy man who had 
had restaurants in Hong Kong for years. Because food was his 
hobby and he was cooking for such a small number, he could 
get better results with the rice, and pull tricks with the small 
amounts of extras that were issued. 

Next to this was the Dutch building, similar to the Ameri- 
can and British apartments, but not quite so crowded. 

In all there were more than 3,000 British, 70 Dutch, and 
350 Americans. There was no pkce to cook for the large num- 
ber of people when they were herded into camp, so emer- 
gency latchens were set up with no help from the Japs, created 
out of rubble by the internees. The Americans got busy at 
once and constructed stone ranges, makeshift utensils, and a 
huge boiling pan for rice. From this place were served 257 
people twice a day for the next half-year. 

The British weren't quite so quick to adapt themselves to 
circumstances as the Americans, for they still felt: "This 
can't happen to us," and " They can't do this to us." Of course 
the Japs weren't supposed to treat prisoners of war in this 
manner, but they were doing so, and there was no redress but 
to make the best of it. For three months the British internees 
from the Indian quarters climbed almost half a mile to the 
British apartments to get their pails of food, and then finally 
managed to erect a kitchen in their own quarter. 

One Englishman remarked to an American: "You are 
lucky to have so many of your working classes here to build 
things," and was amazed to find that the men indicated were 
bankers, brokers, and executives of our biggest firms. 

The men in St. Stephen's College also got busy, put up a 
clever kitchen, and worked hard to do the best they could 
with the poor food. My friend Eric Curtis was one of those re- 
sponsible for the success of the endeavor. 

If you are the least bit tempted to grumble about sugar 01 
coffee rations, ponder on what the Japs gave us for food: At 
ten in the morning in the American quarters we received a 
small bowl of rice and three quarters of a cup of thin gravy, 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 237 

At five we received another dose of the rice and the same 
amount of questionable stew. Many times the small amount of 
meat in it should have been rejected owing to its bad state, 
but it meant no food at all if it wa& sent back. Sometimes it 
was so fetid and diseased it had to be returned, and then we 
went even hungrier. 

Buffalo meat and fish heads were among the delicacies is- 
sued to us, and alfalfa was considered a rare treat in the stew. 

According to the Geneva Convention for Treatment of 
War Prisoners, which Japan never signed, but which she 
claims she lives up to, it is specified that civilian prisoners re- 
ceive at least 2,400 calories a day. The highest amount we ever 
received was 1,800, still 600 under minimum, and for three 
months it averaged 850 calories a day! 

During those months the Japanese issued no fresh milk to 
adults, no fresh fruits or fresh green vegetables, and only three 
duck eggs per person during the entire half-year. In February 
this was the issue per person, per day: 8 ounces of rice, 5 
ounces of meat (including bone), 6 ounces of vegetables, 1/50 
pound of sugar, 1/50 pound of salt. 

One day tie rice was so bad that the Americans who went to 
receive it rejected it. "Then you will have nothing to eat," 
the Japs stated. " That is all there is." So the bags were brought 
down to the garage, which was part of the kitchen, and I was 
one of ten who volunteered to try to find some that was edible. 

I have heard of food that was alive with worms, but I never 
quite believed it. But I swear that when this rice was poured 
over the table for sorting, it actually undulated with the move- 
ment of the worms and weevils in it. 

We sorted it kernel by kernel, removing the livestock, and 
trying to pull off the webs of eggs which surrounded almost 
every grain of rice. At the end of half an hour of exacting 
work, trying our best to save the ration, we all voted that we 
would rather go three days without any food than eat this dis- 
eased and filthy rice. 

Three quarters of the people in camp ate out of tin cans 



238 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

they picked up from garbage piles. Some had found a few 
dishes in the apartments in which they were lucky enough to 
be assigned. It was a sad and dreary sight to see the ragged in- 
ternees line up each day with their tin pails and cans for food 
which was unsatisfying and disagreeable anyway, eating just 
to stay alive. 

I had a particularly good-looking tin can of which I was 
proud because Charles Larson found some wire and a piece of 
wood and put on a very fine handle for me. The Larson fam- 
ily were among the most ingenious in the American group, as 
well as the most energetic. There were " Dad," " Mother," 
and three boys, Raymond, Billy, and Junior. Mrs. Larson had 
a big job on her hands to wash for all of them and to keep ev- 
eryone out of mischief in that active growing family. 

Something was always happening to one or the other: Dad 
kicked a ball and ripped off his toenail; Raymond had an op- 
eration for appendicitis; Junior got an eye infection and had 
to have his arms strapped down to keep him from rubbing 
his eyes. But they were always a cheerful lot, and willing to 
help others, which meant a great deal in our community life. 
One day I heard Junior, about eight years old, muttering to 
himself: " I'm just damned sick and tired of this life, sick and 
tired, that's all." I found myself echoing a fervent " Amen! " 

I was moved around from place to place, owing to my late 
arrival and other factors. The first night I was put in an empty 
room from which the Chinese women wardens had just been 
moved, and I occupied this for several days. During another 
period I occupied a high iron hospital examination rack, nar- 
row and har< in the community clinic, located in a former 
kitchen. At night the huge cockroaches held merry cockroach 
carnivals, using me as the arena. 

I was then assigned to a room with Mrs. Alice Dobbs, a 
young American whose British husband had been killed dur- 
ing the war. The couple had come from Kunming in Free 
China for the Christmas holiday, and when the battle began 
he had volunteered and was killed. Previously he had been a 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 239 

member of the English Department of China's Salt Tax Ad- 
ministration. Two of the children, John and Jenifer, were in 
Kunming without word of their ather's death or their moth- 
er's whereabouts, and one was with Alice's mother in Penn- 
sylvania, going to school. When we were repatriated Alice had 
to come with us, leaving her two youngsters in Free China. 

We lived in a very small servant's room, with a damp, cold 
cement floor and no curtains, chairs, or beds. There was not 
room enough for two cots in the space, so Alice slept on the 
porch on boards laid across an iron frame die had found, and 
later I slept there. My cot was about eighteen inches wide, and 
because of the poor metal in it, it sagged immediately; actu- 
ally it was more comfortable on the floor, except for the cold, 
the cockroaches, and the scorpions. 

I had been fortunate in being able to buy this second-hand 
cot in Hong Kong, and pitied those who were sleeping on die 
floor, although I had done so for many weeks. Later I went 
back to that again, but not out of choice. 

Our room was in the servants' wing, and in the front was 
an even tinier room, in which lived William Taylor of the 
United States Treasury Department, a member of the Stabi- 
lization Board. Actually he should have been with the Ameri- 
can officials, and I do not know why he was not sent to live 
with those who rated but did not receive diplomatic privi- 
leges from the Japs. 

There was a small kitchen where the Chinese servants had 
cooked their meals in " chatties," earthen bowls, on wood fires, 
which we could not obtain, of course. Then there was a Chi- 
nese toilet, which is a hole in the floor, with no seat. While 
others in the camp longed for the day when they would return 
home so they could have privacy in their bathrooms, with no 
long lines waiting outside the door, I wished not only for pri- 
vacy, but for a place on which to sit. Life resolves itself into 
concrete and practical tilings in an internment camp, and there 
are few modesties, false or o&erwise, left by the time you have 
been there very long. 



240 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

The camp had organized itself into working order as quickly 
as possible, and there were various committees and working 
squads. 

There was the sanitation committee, on which among those 
who served were M. L. Southwick, Richard Sanger, Frank 
Peters, Jack Shannon, and William Stanton. I was particularly 
impressed by the way Bill Stanton did his work, because I had 
visited his home and knew from what different surroundings 
he had come. But so had the others, of course. 

The sanitary squad went to work each morning about half 
past six, when they scrubbed the pavements, walk, and hall- 
ways, kept the lawn in fine shape, and did all the general clean- 
ing around the camp. It was hard work, but none of the men 
ever murmured. 

Then there was the squad that chopped die wood each 
day for the kitchens. That work was particularly strenuous, 
and I don't know how these men managed on our meager 
diet. You could hear them sawing for hours; among those 
I remember seeing were Gordon Frisque, Paul Dietz, Peter 
Elder, Jack Dwyer, and Fred Hill. Dietz also repaired 
shoes and made many things, and Hill became our elec- 
trical expert. In ordinary life these men were all American 
executives. 

Another squad kept the water boiled at all times, and this 
was of tremendous importance to the health of the community. 
You can't drink water direcdy from the faucets anywhere in 
the Far East, and it was particularly important to avoid epi- 
demics in our camp. This necessitated many long hours spent 
in little cubbyhole kitchens, boiling water in a heater which 
had to be stoked part of the time, and was partly heated by 
electricity. 

I remember watching at this job Captain Albert Miller, 
sixty-seven years old, who began working each day at five a.m. 
to have sterilized water ready for the Americans when they 
rose. Then there were Dr. J. F. Steiner, Paul Gregory, King 
Paget, Rev. John Bechtel, Rev. R. B. Beaver, Rev. O. Z. Quick, 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 24! 

Rev. R. D. Bullock, C. C Krohn, N. F. Brewer, and Dr. M. T. 

Rankin. 

Boiled water was ready in the American community for 
drinking from seven a.m. until eight p.m. Since this was much 
longer than in the British section, someone was always trying 
to borrow a bit, and because our workers couldn't bear to turn 
down mothers with children, it meant extra hours for the 
Americans. 

The kitchen staff had the longest, hardest job and probably 
got the most criticism. Human nature remains remarkably* the 
same under most circumstances, and some people just have to 
complain, even when the rotten rations we were issued by the 
Japs didn't taste like a dinner at the Ritz. 

These men began about five every morning, getting the rice 
ready for the day's first meal, to call it that, at ten. They 
worked most of die day, and were often in the kitchen until 
kte at night. They toiled under the direction of C. E. 
(" Chuck ") Cady, 1 one of the hardest-working men in camp, 
although he was also seriously ill all of the time. Under him 
was Charles Butier, and the crew of the Admiral Williams, an 
American ship which had been caught in Hong Kong in die 
drydocks, where she had gone for repairs, including H. R. 
Ravn, Wm. Howley, G. H. Sundberg, Carlton Wiseman, and 
C. W.Adams. 

The Reverend " Oz " Quick cleaned huge buckets of rice 
each day; Henry White, Qiinese-Ainerican lad, worked con- 
stantly; and Henry Durschmidt, of Standard Oil, spent many 
long hours in the hot kitchen. 

The boat crew had done dangerous volunteer work in Hong 
Kong during the war, and one had been killed, a mess boy 

1 Since completing this book I have received word that Chuck has died - 
Chuck, who worked too long and too hard for ns at camp, while the Japanese 
would not allow him proner medicine or care. He has died since we returned 
to the United States, victim of Japanese inhumanity that would not permit 
medical care even to captured prisoners of war. He died as much a victim of 
Japanese aggression as though they had bayoneted him one of the first of 
many who will die as a result of our months of semi-starvation, improper 
food, and barbaric living-conditions. 



242 J PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

named Jackson. John Raymond, one of America's two bull- 
fighters, and also a shipping executive, head of the American 
Trading Corporation, was in charge. 

I heard a lot of complaining, but I knew I didn't want to 
wash that dirty coolie rice, or cook and clean the bloody awful- 
looking pieces of meat and fish I saw being carried in wheel- 
barrows to the kitchen from the Jap headquarters. I don't 
think I would ever have eaten anything if Fd had to handle 
that revolting stuff raw! 

We had less dysentery and stomach ailments in this Ameri- 
can section than in any other, and I'm sure this was due to the 
care the kitchen staff took in keeping things as clean as possi- 
ble, no matter how many squawks came when once in a while 
they threw away something they considered inedible. People, 
in die good old American way, were always getting fighting 
mad at the crew, holding meetings about it, and invariably 
ending up giving Chuck and his helpers a vote of thanks for 
their splendid work. 

Frances Baynes, Junior Leaguer from New York City, 
helped in serving and in the kitchen, doing more than her share 
of community work. I always envied Frances her lovely curly 
hair, and felt that when the fates created me they must have 
forgotten they were going to put me in a concentration camp, 
where my straight fine hair was a maddening problem. 

Mrs. Laura Ziegler, who had six of her many children 
with her, organized an efficient " diet kitchen," where those 
who were ill could get specially prepared food. This food was 
the same as for the others, except that by preparing it in small 
quantities, making rice water for dysentery cases, and arrang- 
ing it carefully, it was much better for invalids. Food for the 
children was also prepared here. Leonora Hospes worked eight 
to twelve hours a day in our American community office. 
These three women were outstanding in the work they did 
for the benefit of the entire community and these were days 
when it was important that every person try to help the oth- 
ers. Hard, tough days, I assure you* 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 243 

I had always considered that the saddest sight of China, and 
perhaps one of the most symbolic of its widespread poverty, 
was that of Chinese women and children brushing up rice ker- 
nels from dirty pavements when they fell from bags being car- 
ried through the streets. I had taken pictures of that as repre- 
senting famine and dire need in China. 

Now Fve seen American and British children doing the 
same, and the sight stabs your heart with a flaming rage that 
is agonizing. One day someone spilled a bucket of rice being 
taken to the kitchen. The children ran in mad confusion to 
scoop it up from the dirt and crammed it into their mouths. Fll 
never forgive Japan for that as long as I live. 

Nor will I forgive the small group of Americans who man- 
aged, by hook and crook, to smuggle in enough supplies so 
their private storeroom held enough food for the next year 
and a half. While others in camp were virtually on the verge 
of starvation, these people and a small group of friends were 
dining on hams, canned fruits, bread, butter, meats, eggs, 
shrimps, fresh lettuce, and all the other things which belong 
in an American diet. They held Sunday-morning waffle break- 
fasts, champagne and Scotch parties, while 3,500 other people 
tried only to get enough food to keep alive, and for months 
were without tea or coffee or a single piece of bread. Almost 
everyone tried to get a few cans of food ahead, as wise provi- 
sioning, although for a long period that was an utter impossi- 
bility. But dozens of cases of food in storage under conditions 
like this it was damnable! 

This inhuman group of four also managed to corner die ex- 
clusive use of a kitchen while many internees had no place 
even to reheat their rice, or while as many as one hundred used 
the same stove. They also had the only electrical ref rigerator 
in the entire camp, except in the community kitchens. One re- 
minded me one day that she had given me many fine dinners 
before the war, and that was the first time I had ever realized 
I was expected to go on giving thanks for past hospitality for 
years to come. Imprisonment does queer things to some people! 



244 I PMSONER OF THE JAPS 

Day after day throughout the months, children, and some- 
times adults, went to the garbage pail of this group to take 
and eat what they had tihrown away from their abundance. 
Among other things in their storeroom were 27 bags of flour, 
1 8 cases of corned beef, many cases of canned milk. A commit- 
tee member taking inventory of everything in camp found a 
clothes-room with shelves lined with tins and packages of ev- 
ery kind of food. One night when I was sleeping on the porch, 
I was wakened about two a.m., as was the other sleeper in this 
section, by noises down below. We could see by the night 
lights seven figures sneaking along by the wall, carrying some 
of those sacks of flour from the American quarters to friends 
in other parts of the camp. At a time when everything be- 
longed, or should have, to the community, a few were hoarding 
in die most despicable sense of the word. At times the com- 
munity seethed to the point of mobbing these quarters, and 
was held back only by the inertia which comes from hunger. 

In the British section was a fabulous character, Maurice 
Abraham Cohen, also known as Two-Gun Cohen, General 
Moishe Cohen, or Brigadier-General Ma-Kun. He had been a 
general in China's army for twenty years, and bodyguard to 
Dr. Sun Yat-sen, President of China. He helped organize the 
Canton armies which Chiang Kai-shek later led, and got them 
supplies and arms. General Cohen also persuaded the Canton- 
ese to bring in foreign officers, mostly German and British, to 
train them, which largely accounts for the military successes 
won by Chiang Kai-shek when he swept northward in 1926. 
During the last years he has been busy running supplies from 
Hong Kong through the Japanese blockade into Free China, 
but die Japs caught him when the city fell. Whether they 
knew what they had is a moot question. 

One day General Cohen felt there was some " finagling " in 
one of the British kitchens, so he went and asked questions, 
which made the cook mad. 

" You're a fine one, Cohen, to say anything about stealing," 
he blurted out. " Your hands aren't reputed to be very clean." 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 245 

" Maybe you're right," the general replied. " Fve fought, 
IVe maybe stolen, I've done things that probably were wrong. 
But, by God, Fve never taken food from hungry women and 
children under any circumstances, and you aren't going to 
now! " With that he hit the cook in the eye, and a glorious 
fight ensued. 

None of the Americans cleaned up on our " hoarders " un- 
til on the ship coming home, and then several black eyes en- 
sued. Good food not only brings back fighting strength, but 
never allows one to forget the hungry days suffered while oth- 
ers ate cake, as it were. 

It was reported there was a bit of juggling done with some 
funds supposed to be used for community charity work at this 
same time, which was covered by a large-sized check on the 
way home, but about this Fve never been able to get a state- 
ment out of the headquarters of the organization. 

All of this made me furious, along with the majority of the 
American community. I expressed it in a meeting one day this 
way: " I don't mind being mistreated by the Japanese. They 
are my enemies, and I expect it from such a low type of mili- 
tary masters. But I expect fairness among Americans at a time 
like this, and it is a crime and a shame that such a few can be 
so unfair, when almost one hundred per cent of the Americans 
in camp are doing everything in their power to do their share 
and to make things go as well as possible under the circum- 



stances." 



It is hard to make others realize what k feels like to be gnaw- 
ingly hungry day after day, week after week, if they've never 
gone through it. And no matter how hungry, there was no 
place to go to get a " bite to eat," for the cupboard was ag- 
onizingly bare. 

I was extremely lucky during my first months in camp to 
have the can of prunes and the large can of jam to add to my 
rations. Then someone had a birthday party, and I brought 
forth my jam can. It was cleaned so thoroughly it shone like 
silver! I had to sell a few other tins I had to get money for some 



246 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

necessities, and then I was reduced to straight rations for two 
months. 

Internees were losing weight very rapidly. Almost everyone 
lost 20 pounds within the first two months. Lot the group of 
men in the " American dub " 100 per cent lost 20 pounds, and 
over 50 per cent lost from 50 to 100 pounds! I lost 25 pounds, 
which I wouldn't have minded if I hadn't been so hungry and 
sick inside. 

Over 30 per cent of the camp developed beriberi, scurvy, 
pellagra, or other vitamin-deficiency diseases. Things became 
so bad that the following plea, with additional clauses, was 
sent on March 13 to the Japanese headquarters: 

We are asked to transmit for your information and kind 
consideration the following resolutions passed by the elected rep- 
resentatives of the three committees: 

RESOLVED: The representatives are requested to seek Mr. 
K. L. Cheng's good offices in the matter of obtaining foods, mer- 
chandise and articles important to the health and well-being of the 
Internees who already are evidencing signs of fatigue and ill-health; 
becoming shoeless, ragged and emaciated. In this connection the 
representatives are asked to seek some arrangements for bringing 
in of larger quantities of primary goods for diet balance, shoes and 
shoe repair materials, clothes, stockings and socks, milk for infants 
and school children who are either no longer given the f onnomi- 
sufficient milk rations or have never received milk rations flppec- 
tively. To this end the said representatives are urged to suggest to 
Mr. K. L. Cheng, and as promised by Mr. Miyaki to the Internees, 
that it would be appropriate if some Internee or several Internees 
could proceed to Hong Kong for the purpose of facilitating the 
purchase and/or acquiring of these goods, merchandise and com- 
modities, imperative to the health and well-being of the Internees. 

The said representatives are also asked to bring before 
Mr. K. L. Cheng the grave conditions forming within the Intern- 
ment Camp whereby, through the recent diminution of rations 
and the already previously deficient diet, Internees are showing 
signs of health impairment, beriberi, scurvy, pellagra, and the gen- 
eral health of the communities is sinking to a grave low ebb which 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 247 

will necessitate extraordinary hospitalization, invalid feeding, and 
perhaps may result in death, particularly to the interned child 
population. 

This was signed for the American Communal Council by 
William P. Hunt, chairman, and T. B. Wilson, delegate; for 
the British by L. R. Nielson, chairman, and D. L. Newbigging, 
delegate; and for the Dutch by N. A. Bolt, chairman, and 
W. R. Pownall, delegate. 

It was never answered, and conditions daily became worse. 

Mr. Cheng, die superintendent, had quite a reputation for 
taking " squeeze " from things coming into camp or from in- 
dividuals. I wasn't too surprised, but a bit alarmed, when he 
sent for me one day. He and the other Chinese heads of vari- 
ous parts of the camp were waiting for me. I thought he had 
got wind of the material I had brought in, and was going to 
demand a share. 

Instead he said: "You had a number of cameras in Hong 
Kong before the war. Where are they now? " 

I was glad to report they were out of my hands, for un- 
doubtedly he would have confiscated them, and I should never 
have seen them again. The whole group looked much disap- 
pointed at my reply. 

Not too long after this the Japanese removed Mr. Cheng 
from headship of the camp and put in two of their own race. 
The head of these thousands of prisoners was Mr. Yamashida, 
who had been second barber in the Hong Kong Hotel for 
twelve years, and who was reputed to hold a very high rank in 
the Japanese army. The other was Mr. Nakasawa, who had 
been a tailor's assistant in the city for five years. There are no 
lengths to which the Japanese are not willing to go, nor any 
sacrifice too great in personal life, to serve the interests of their 
Emperor. 

Many people have asked me what we did with all our days. 
By the time we had finished with just the job of keeping alive, 
there was no energy left for anything else. Internees had to do 
all the work in camp, cooking, cleaning, washing, keeping the 



248 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

camp in order. There were no vacuum cleaners, just hands and 
knees!, There were no washing machines, just knuckles and 
hard work. Sometimes there was no soap, and usually only cold 
water for everything from hair to sheets and blankets. 

Almost every night for half a year Walter Frese of the 
United States Treasury Department played the piano in the 
American dub for an hour, along with A, M. Fif er of the Red 
Cross. Internees from all the communities drifted in to listen 
to the music of happier days and to forget for a little our hours 
of Jap imprisonment. Walt was one of the most beloved men 
in our camp, and I am sure no one will begrudge this tribute. 
He worked in the office, he worked in the kitchen, and then he 
gave everyone joy by his playing at night. His clothes became 
shabby, he lost weight alarmingly, but he never once com- 
plained, and his spirit kept up those of others who were falter- 
ing. 

One day our community held a display of all things made 
by the American internees. It was remarkable to see what in- 
genious things necessity turned out. One man had made a scale 
out of odds and ends; another wooden spoons and forks. A 
" schooner " bed was rigged up to keep out the malaria mosqui- 
toes. Women braided hats out of dried reeds, wove shoes out 
of string. Paul Dietz devised a way of splitting the wooden 
soles of the clogs he made, so they wouldn't be so stiff and 
hard on the feet. 

I was proud of my exhibit, for it included some brilliant 
crimson stockings I had knitted at the Kowloon Hotel, which 
earned me die tide of " Red Socks." Then there was a blouse 
made from a nurse's thin veil I found, and when I finished there 
wasn't an inch of material left in the square yard of goods. 
I made bootees for the Owens baby of bits of gray and pink 
yarn, and a very brief pair of shorts and bra top from some 
curtain material. These tied at the back and the sides to keep 
them closed, because there were no snaps, and were quite a 
trick (I thought). 

All these things were purely feminine enjoyment, but the 



BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST [ 249 

men had their pride also. In the Kowloon Hotel most had to 
let their beards grow because there were no razor blades to be 
bought, begged, or stolen. Some blades appeared in camp, and 
the men all learned they could sharpen these on the edges of 
glasses by miming them round and round the edge, so most of 
the beards disappeared. White guard uniforms made their ap- 
pearance, still bearing the prison insignia; these had been found 
in the apartments upon arrival. 

Just previous to our departure some charity material was 
sent into camp, and distributed through welfare committees. 
It seemed mighty funny to be on the receiving end of such is- 
sues, but I took the gaily colored wash-basin, the straw mat, 
and a sweater of many colors with gratefulness. These sweat- 
ers had been bought to send to the South Sea Islands, I believe, 
for each had three stardingly vivid colors in them; mine was 
bright yellow, vivid blue, and purple. Others were green, red, 
and orange. All were strange and wonderful, and our camp 
suddenly looked like a peacock gone mad. 

One of the strangest things I found out was that you can 
shine shoes by rubbing hibiscus blossoms on them, and pink 
ones give an especially good sheen! 



Chapter XXIV 

Just People 



JL F you can imagine someone being able to set up a hot-dog, 
hamburger, and ice-cream stand in Africa or the Solomons, 
and what a typhonic descent a group of American soldiers 
would make on the place, you can picture what happened 
when word went around camp that I had shorts, shirts, stock- 
ings, and other necessities. I was frantically busy selling them 
at first, and they went like the proverbial hotcakes. Here were 
3,500 people, most of them with only the clothes in which they 
had been interned months before, now already worn, torn, and 
dirty, and none to be got from the Japs. 

I was afraid the Jap headquarters would get wind of what I 
was doing, so I was gkd when a storeroom was found for what 
stuff didn't fly away the first day. Thereafter I took " orders," 
and later delivered the goods, feeling like a traveling salesman. 
The American Community Council bought the khaki, and a 
committee was organized, with Dr. M. T. Rankin supervising 
the plans, to make all of the material into shorts. Miss Marion 
Dudley, who was doing welfare work in camp, canvassed the 
whole American Community taking orders. If a person could 
pay, the cost was $1.50; if not, a pair was given to him or her, 
and funds were raised within our group. The sewing was all 
done on funny old-fashioned hand-turned sewing-machines, 
making noises like tractors, and taking as much effort to run. 

250 



JUST PEOPLE [ 251 

These had been found in the Indian quarters when the in- 
ternees arrived. 

Since the material was precious, and time was vital, the pants 
were made with side openings. The men called these " sissy 
pants," and scoffed at them all during the rime in camp, but 
were so glad to have anything that they did not fuss too much. 

By this time most men had cut off lie bottoms of their long 
trousers to make patches for the seats, which had worn out. 
They whittled clogs out of pieces of wood and strapped them 
on their feet so they would not have to go barefooted. Nails 
were found by searching the ground near shelled buildings. 
Girls unraveled gunny sacks, and crocheted shoes vjith wooden 
hooks, also whittled out, and cut up curtains and tablecloths 
they found in some apartments, to make shorts. Even the mis- 
sionary women wore shorts. Fm sure they must have been em- 
barrassed a great deal at first, but everyone was doing a lot of 
adjusting, and they did too. 

After the American needs were filled from the material I 
had convoyed in under Jap eyes with such trembling, the rest 
of the khaki was bought by the British welfare group, and they 
repeated the program of shorts-malting. 

I managed to smuggle the money back into town to Mr. 
Needa on three different occasions, and breathed a sigh when 
the last bit went I had handled almost $2,500 in cash, and 
my responsibility in getting this material sold, and the money 
back into Hong Kong, had given me nightmares many nights. 
I took a small amount out, as Mr. Needa had told me to, to 
buy myself a dozen cans of extras at the canteen and to lend 
to those who had none. 

When I first went to camp I had great pleasure in giving 
away some of the few things I had been able to buy, and sold 
the others which I had bought with my borrowed dollars to 
those who seemed to need them the most. It was sad to have 
people beg for things which I did not have, or had already 
sold, and to know that I could have brought in more if only I 
had had the cash while I was in Hong Kong. Many people bad 



252 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

managed to bring in a large amount of money, while others had 
nothing not even a dollar or a penny. Most were generous at 
sharing; there were some who hoarded, as will always be true, 
I suppose. 

On one of the first days in camp I had given Mrs. Adelaide 
Van de Veere, whom I had just met, a pair of red socks, which 
certainly paid dividends later on. I had not bought myself any- 
thing before I came, so when the seat of my slacks seemed fi- 
nally about to give out, I was in a desperate state. I had got so 
I hated to stand next to myself in the slack suit in which I had 
been captured on December 23, and in desperation had washed 
it in cold water. Wool cold water and constantly worn 
slacks and jacket added up to a fanny-looking outfit when I 
was finished and die dirt which had been holding the thin 
threads together was washed away. 

It was then Bobby Van de Veere rescued me by giving me 
a very pretty dress. It seemed strange to don a skirt once more. 
Betty Thompson also gave me one, which made my wardrobe 
seem as extensive as a Hollywood star's. Two dresses in my 
possession, after four months of none! Bobby not only donated 
the dress, but as she was a clever saleslady, appointed herself 
to my " staff " and helped a great deal in selling my stores. 
She also gave me some jam on rice cakes sometimes, and that 
was caviar and champagne at a time like this. 

It was extraordinary what some of the women were able to 
do with the rice. Some put it in the oven, dried and browned it, 
thus making a sort of popcorn, although unpopped. Others 
ground it down with stones, made flour, added water and a bit 
of sugar when they could get it, and made a cake. Rice pancakes 
were another thought, and once someone was lucky enough to 
get some sweet chocolate, which we melted down, mixed with 
die rice, and allowed to semi-harden; it really was delicious. 
We found that water substituted for milk worked out all right, 
and that the pits inside prunes held an inner center which was 
good. 

The continuous rice diets brought many comments, dauma- 



JUST PEOPLE [ 253 

dons, and continuous hatred of the Japs. However, there was 
one angle that was amusing. As I said before, life resolves itself 
into fundamentals in concentration camp, and discussions are 
very frank. Several times I overheard men talking about the 
effects of the rations on their normal likes and desires. There 
were a number of pretty young girls in camp, many of them 
wearing the briefest of shorts and bras, but sex did not seem to 
rear its ugly head. This bothered most of the men, and after 
deep sessions over it, they would always end by saying: " Well, 
I was worried about myself, wondering if the war had affected 
me. But if it's the same with you, it must be the rice diet." 
The rice diet! 

It was the theme song of the camp, and the nightmare of 
every person there. After months of it my stomach finally re- 
belled and wouldn't take more. My mouth developed small 
ulcers, and then I was in a fix, since there was hardly anything 
else to eat. Dr. Gourdin gave me an order which allowed nie 
to buy some things at the canteen, and they were a lifesaver. 

This international canteen was started by the Americans. 
At first the British did not want to join, but then saw its wis- 
dom and helped establish it financially, as did the Dutch. The 
plan was to buy or have the Japanese buy, of course pro- 
visions in Hong Kong, to sell to the communities to supple- 
ment the starvation rations. You would have thought the Jap- 
anese would have been delighted to make money out of the 
camp, but they did not feel that way. They just wanted to keep 
us on rice and stew. 

So it was very seldom they would send anything out from 
Hong Kong, saying there were no trucks in which to bring 
things, and it was too expensive. Gas was $4.50 a gallon, so 
there was something in that! Besides, they added, there was 
nothing to send anyway. 

The result was that the canteen opened about once every 
five weeks, and then with only enough to last three hours, for 
3,500 people. The prices w$re exorbitant, and exchange for 
large-sized bills extreme -usually $68 for $100 - $27 for $50 



254 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

and most internees had only a very small amount of cash, 
and no more coming in, of course* Yet the prisoners were so 
hungry for even a few extras that a line would form at five in 
the morning for the opening at one thirty in the afternoon, and 
the sun had become blistering hot these days. One Jap officer 
admitted: " I would not have believed it if I had not seen it 
with my own eyes." Old men and women, far over the age 
to be interned according to any standards of international 
warfare, and children, held their places with the weakened 
adults. 

A plan was finally worked out by the community councils 
whereby only so many cards were issued to each building. 
Each person who drew a lucky number on the floor could buy 
for four people, with only one item from each food group. 
Hie most you could buy would amount to a can of beef or 
mutton; a can of fruit salad or jam; a can of coffee, at $2 per 
pound, tea, or chocolate; a pound of chocolate candy; soap, 
toilet paper, thread; butter, at $3.50 a pound. That was not the 
exact list, but approximates it. Probably you would not get 
into the canteen again for several months, so the addition to 
your diet was infinitesimal* 

The Japs were begged time and time again to bring out 
more provisions, but they never acceded. When complaints 
went in to gendarmerie headquarters in Hong Kong about the 
meagerness of our diet, the gendarmes would say: " That's 
more than our fighting soldiers are getting. Let them live on 
it." This was true, because a Jap soldier can virtually exist for 
weeks on rice, which makes a tremendous problem for us to 
meet in actual fighting. The Japs would never admit, of course, 
that our standards of living were higher than theirs, and that 
we required more to eat also because of our larger stature. 
Most Japanese gain two inches when they eat our food in 
America, and in Japan before the war, attempts were being 
made to make the nation taller and stronger by better food. 

Early in internment the British police discovered there was 
a godown of food within the camp radius. The Japs were re- 



JUST PEOPLE [ 255 

moving the food, but one building hadn't been touched. Each 
night die police would crawl down there and bring back sup- 
plies, some of which they sold, some of which they gave away 
to friends. One gave me a tin of cheese one day in exchange for 
something I had done for him, for which I was deeply appre- 
ciative. (In fact, this was the sergeant who had tried to get me 
to move out of Hong Kong before the war! ) 

"We police have been damned in camp for * stealing ' out 
of this godown," he said, "but F1I bet not a single person 
would refuse a tin if we offered it to him, no matter what he's 
said before. We think it's sabotage, not stealing, under cir- 
cumstances like this, and if we weren't starved, we wouldn't do 
it." The Japs caught the men finally, punished them, and put 
up additional barbed wire around the godown. 

There were several attempts at escape from camp, an almost 
impossible feat because of die barbed-wire barricades and the 
armed guards. In one night, however, two parties got away, 
which included Julius Epstein and B. J. O'Neill, Americans. 
Another included Gwen Priestwood, a very pretty British 
girl, now in the United States, and a tall blonde charming girl, 
Elsie Cholmeley. Also in one of the parties this night was die 
police officer, Thompson, who had interviewed me when I was 
taken to headquarters during the war, for taking pictures of 
the peace mission. 

Each time there was an escape, more rules were laid down 
for the camp. Everyone had to be in his own building by eight 
p.m., and a roll call was taken at ten p.m. Lights had to be out 
at eleven, and when people were careless, shots were taken at 
them. No one could leave his quarters until eight in the morn- 
ing. 

Three police who escaped were captured and brought back 
to die jail within die camp, in horrible condition. They showed 
marks of bayonets and starvation, and one was almost dead. 
The Japs finally allowed a British doctor and nurse to go to 
him, and it was thought when we left camp that he would pull 
through. 



256 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Another dangerous task which several American men in- 
ternees undertook, owing to necessity, was to crawl over the 
barbed wire to the shore to get sea water. They brought it 
back to the kitchen to boil, so the American group would have 
salt, which we needed so much, in our very bad rice. The Japs 
had promised salt but what are promises to Japs? 

We were a queer group, because we were a small interna- 
tional village with every type of person, from every walk of 
life, all living in slum conditions or worse. There were all the 
English government officials, with the exception of the Gov- 
ernor-General, Sir Mark Young; no one knew what had hap- 
pened to him. He had gone to the Japanese High Command at 
the time of surrender, and later was rumored to be held pris- 
oner in the Peninsula Hotel. (La November 1942 the Japs an- 
nounced he was a prisoner on the island of Formosa, along with 
lieutenant-General J. M. Wainwright, commander in the 
Philippines, Governor Thomas, of Malaya, and Lieutenant- 
General A. E. Percival, commander in Malaya.) 

There were all Sir Mark's staff members, and minor govern- 
ment officials. There were business executives from shipping 
lines, stores, export companies; brokers; attorneys, doctors, 
dentists* There were policemen, clerks, retired colonials, 
teachers. 

At the top, socially, was Sir Arthur Blackburn and his wife, 
Lady Blackburn. Perhaps you will recall that the Japs bombed 
the British Embassy in Chungking before England and Amer- 
ica were in the war, and one of the officials was injured. That 
was Sir Arthur; his face was badly hurt. He had come to Hong 
Kong for treatment, and was not only caught in the war, but 
injured again. He and his wife lived in a room with eight other 
people, including a number of children; most of them slept on 
die floor. 

The Japs never allowed Sir Arthur to go into Hong Kong 
for treatment, although he needed it badly, except one day in 
half a year. According to international law, he. should have 
been granted diplomatic immunity and not even held in camp. 



JUST PEOPLE [ 257 

Certainly according to all rules of humanity he should have 
been given proper medical treatment. 

There were interesting people, dull ones, and gay ones. 
There were unimaginative ones and adventurers. There was 
" One-Armed Sutton," whose amazing history in China is a 
saga. He has made and lost several fortunes a big fine-look- 
ing man, who made headlines once by catching a hand-grenade 
thrown at him and tossing it back in rime to explode on the 
enemy. But he finally lost an arm when he didn't throw 
quickly enough! 

There was Dorothy Jenner, an energetic newspaper woman 
representing the Associated Newspapers of Australia on a mar- 
velous round-the-world assignment. Caught in passing, she 
was as restless as a caged eagle. There was pretty Bea Whitham 
from my home state, with small Jonathan, born just before 
the war, whose British father was held in military prison camp, 
after seeing his son just once. There were attractive Esther 
Grant, whose husband was also held in another camp; Joan 
and Mary Smalley, clever sisters; generous Anne Clinton, 
manager of the famous Yellow Lantern shop, related to Briga- 
dier-General Denig, head of the Public Relations of the United 
States Marines. And kind James Whyte, whose daughter is 
in the British Embassy in Washington Mrs. J. T. Locke. 
There were many I knew and liked in the kaleidoscope of the 
camp. 

There was a small building used as a hospital, and here all 
the doctors except one, and the nurses, worked on a voluntary 
basis. There was little or no medicine, and the Japs would never 
allow any to come into Stanley. A small amount was smug- 
gled in by the American truck-drivers, and some was left from 
die days of fighting. At times a large number of people were 
extremely ill with dysentery, and the staff worked day and 
night. There were some deaths, and a number of births. 

One death in particular made me fed very sad that of a 
Mr. Simmons, who had been on the long trek from Repulse 
Bay, at the Kowloon Hotel, and then in camp, so he seemed 



258 J PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

like part of my whole Hong Kong experience. He would sit 
on a hillside in camp, looking across the bay at his fine home 
on the opposite hill, which he had built to enjoy in his old age 
and to share with his family. One morning he got up, looked 
out of the window, sat back on the cot, and died. I think he 
died of a broken heart. 

The American community was particularly proud of one 
couple. While many of the parents-to-be spent much time in 
worrying and complaining, these two, Allison and Reginald 
Owens, made the best of a bad situation. They had been as- 
signed a small kitchen in which to live, with an entrance room 
three yards wide. They converted the kitchen into an attrac- 
tive bedroom, and the wee little room into a cunning nursery. 
Reg was capable with tools, and he made a crib, a small ward- 
robe, a clothes-holder complete with tiny hangers, and a nurs- 
ery bed, out of all sorts of odds and ends. They pasted baby 
pictures from old magazines on the wall, with paste made from 
rice kernels. Curtains were made from scraps of material; and 
everyone gave odds and ends of cloth to make the baby's 
clothes, or knitted socks and jackets from bits of yarn, or rav- 
eled out old sweaters. 

It was fortunate that Reg had been a representative for a 
large American drug firm, Parke, Davis & Co., for when the 
two came to camp, they sacrificed all clothes and personal 
things to bring along a bagful of all sorts of vitamins to keep 
Allison healthy, and so feed the baby. 

But the thing which we all enjoyed most was the spirit in 
which the couple accepted living under such conditions, eat- 
ing such food, having nothing with which to work, and yet 
keeping happy and smiling. Allison was a very pretty girl, 
Australian by birth. She kept lovely-looking up until the day 
she walked to the litde hospital by the sea, and was just as 
charming when she returned. We were all delighted at the ar- 
rival of Madeleine Jeannette. When I think of pampered moth- 
ers at home^ and then of what this one went through with 



JUST PEOPLE [ 259 

always a smile and never a grumble, I feel there should be 
crosses of honor for women in war also. 

One of the most dramatic stories I heard about the entire 
siege also had to do with a baby being born into our warring 
world. In Stanley was a nurse I knew and liked very much, 
Margaret Morgan, who had worked at one of the large British 
hospitals. 

It happened the December night when the Japs were mak- 
ing their first landing on the island. The British ordered a com- 
plete black-out, with full martial kw, and any single exposed 
light was to be shot out. So in the vast hospital there was only 
one tiny little blue light in the heart of die building. There 
were many injured soldiers, British and Canadian, and agony 
rode through the wards. In one ward were five women, one 
of them an expectant Portuguese mother of twenty-eight, 
awaiting the birth of her first child. About midnight the baby 
decided to arrive prematurely, and things began to happen. 
It was impossible to move the mother to the operating-room, 
and there was only a small bag of instruments at hand. That 
had to do, however, as well as the cot bed on which the mother 
was resting. 

Thus it was that Margaret and the other nurse began to de- 
liver the baby in absolute blackness, choosing the correct in- 
struments entirely by sense of feeling. The other women in 
the ward offered words of encouragement. When the baby 
was nearly born the mother asked: " Is my baby a boy or a 
girl?" 

In the darkness the nurse felt the baby, and reported a boy. 

" Pm happy," the mother said. After a few minutes she said: 
" How much does my son weigh? " 

Margaret picked up the child and hefted it in her arms. " I 
think about seven pounds, 9 ' she replied. 

But what made die story most vivid and painful in my mind 
was the remark made by one of the nurses in the course of the 
delivery: 



260 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

" Shall we move the bed up to the window, so we can see 
now and then by the gun flashes? " 

Thus it is that life goes on even in the midst of war. Bravery- 
lives in the hearts of women as well as men when a land and 
people are battling for the things which are right. 

Dr. Harry Talbot, a Britisher, set up the first medical clinic 
in camp, an American one because he got the approval and 
help of the American community first, and because he had vis- 
ited in the United States and worked with the American Bu- 
reau for Medical Aid to China. He had caused quite an uproar 
before the war with a very frank speech in which he told the 
Chinese of Hong Kong they were not helping their own peo- 
ple as they should. In the city, he said, were several hundred 
millionaires hiding behind British skirts, who should get busy 
for their own country. There was a great deal of poverty in 
Hong Kong among the Chinese, and he felt they should help 
there as weH as in Free China. 

Dr. Allston Gourdin, an American, was another who gave 
almost his entire time to keeping the Americans as well as pos- 
sible. There were always dysentery, malnutrition, cuts, burns, 
boils, and other sicknesses with which to deal, as well as the 
attendant ills of our almost purely starch diet. The clinics 
were open each day, and there was no charge, of course. 

During my time in camp, I had dysentery, dengue fever, and 
malnutrition, as well as a swollen ankle from a black spider bite, 
and that's enough for a while. 

I was almost bitten one day by a deadly poisonous bamboo 
snake, for whose bite there is no antidote. Captain Thomas and 
I were working in the yard when he suddenly said: " Go 
inside at once." As I turned back from the doorway, I saw a 
snake crawling across the place where I had been raking. I ran 
for a shovel, and Gappy stabbed the snake with it over the 
head. The snake kept striking countless times. When it was fi- 
nally dead, I examined it a dangerously beautiful thing of 
soft yellow and green, like new bamboo shoots, and a foot and 
a half long. In China there is a belief that if a person saves your 



JUST PEOPLE [ 26l 

life, he is responsible for it as long as you live, so Gappy is my 
guardian now! 

During all my life it has been my mental task to fill my mem- 
ories with thoughts of gay and intelligent people, fascinating 
places, unusual sights and sounds and smells, exciting adven- 
tures, and vivid and vital seconds and minutes, days and nights. 
Even in the midst of my Hong Kong life I added memories of 
many people who were true under test and brave under fire, 
which will always be colored with gold in my book of life. 

But on days when things seemed too hard to stand another 
minute, and when knowledge of some of the people who were 
weak and vicious under trial became overburdening, I would 
go to my favorite cliff top. There I would sit with my back 
against die gray weathered stone which had stood guard for 
centuries, my feet hanging out over blue space, with only the 
sea in front of me die sea that led to aH the oceans of die 
world. Then I would voyage away from that camp where I 
was a prisoner of the Japs and be again with the people I love, 
in the places that are covered with star-dust and glory in 
my most precious memories. . . . Mexican mountains . . . 
Shanghai Sundays . . . Embassy gardens . . . English lanes 
. . . Paris nights. . . . 



Chapter XXV 

Concentrated Life 



.ECULIAR are the minds of our enemies, and strange are 
their ways. Just as you can't understand why a skunk finds it 
necessary to offend the clean country air, you could never fig- 
ure out why the Japs felt impelled to torture helpless civilian 
prisoners long after they had obtained their military objective, 
were victors rich with spoils, and had us all completely at their 
mercy. 

There was in Japan a creed called bushido, which the world 
had been informed was a great and wonderful theory of love 
and kindliness to all mankind. I asked a Jap once how he rec- 
onciled that with the treatment of the prisoners in Hong Kong, 
and he replied: " Oh, that doesn't apply to our enemies! " Nat- 
urally one is good to one's friends, and I couldn't quite figure 
out what good a credo was that excused you from being at 
least humanly decent to your enemies. At die height of a war, 
with lust and bloody death filling the air, cruelty becomes 
more understandable, but there should be no place for it in the 
victors' treatment of captives, particularly civilians. 

When I say " torture," I do not necessarily mean physical 
mistreatment, for I think that mental torture can be evefl worse 
at times. Apparently the Japs thought so too, for they loved to 
inflict their arrogant and sadistic will on the prisoners* 

One day a group of fourteen internees were waiting at the 
Jap headquarters on top of the hill to receive the day's rations 

262 



CONCENTRATED LIFE [ 263 

to wheel back down into camp. This spot overlooked all of 
Stanley, and so naturally the jail came in the line of vision. 
No one was looking at it, however, because we didn't like to 
gaze at that place of imprisonment. 

A Japanese officer and three gendarmes rode up to the group, 
and the officer barked an order like a chow dog. The slouchy 
soldiers with the baggy pants went up to the Englishmen and 
Americans and began hitting them in the face. No one knew 
what they had done wrong, as they had come to the hilltop at 
Jap orders and were merely standing in line there. 

Some time later our community councils were able to find 
that the sin had been that some of the " enemies " had been 
looking down at the jail, and that was forbidden. Why? Be- 
cause, as I have said before, no one is allowed to look down on 
a Jap soldier, since he is a representative of the Emperor, and 
thus one is looking down on the Emperor, the God of Japan. 
Apparently there had been some Jap soldiers in the jail yard, 
and the internees were accused of looking at them. Of course 
we would have been glad never again in our lives to see a Jap 
soldier, so no one was spending any time gazing at them when 
he didn't have to, that was sure. Shortly afterwards the Japs 
posted an order forbidding us " To a walking going for a look- 
ing down upon the jail." 

Mr. W. G. M. Wilson, the Canadian, and two friends were 
walking back to their quarters one evening when some Jap sol- 
diers just outside the barbed-wire barricade motioned them to 
the fence. The Japs then stuck broomsticks in their hands and 
ordered the men to hold them above their heads. Whenever the 
prisoners' arms would tire and start to sag, bayonets would 
jab into them, and the guns would dick as though they were 
being made ready to fire. The group was forced to stand this 
way for two hours. You try holding your arms above your 
head that long! 

Time after tune this streak of sadism came out in the Japa- 
nese character. We have been deceived by the thin veneer of 
civilization which has glossed over the Jap character for the 



264 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

last fifty years, and have forgotten how near they are to medi- 
eval history within their country. When one tries to think of 
one great contribution Japanese brains have given to the world 
in music, art, literature, science, or modern inventions, there is 
not one to be called. They have been expert copyists, but 
never creators. 

Sleeping in one of the tiny servants' rooms in the American 
building were Frances (Airs. Eric) Baynes and Margaiet Wai- 
den. One night they were awakened by a drunken Japanese 
gendarme who had entered their room and was leaning over 
them. One slept on the floor, the other on a low cot. Frances 
was so petrified she could not make a noise, but Margaret 
managed to let forth a great yell, which brought help from 
near-by rooms and the patrol which the Americans had estab- 
lished. The soldier had a gun which he had drawn, but he was 
too drunk to concentrate on it. Naturally it was dangerous to 
order him away, for he was in command of the situation, and 
his fellow soldiers were in charge of the camp, but it was 



Several times soldiers tried to enter rooms where women 
were alone. It became so bad that the Japanese in command fi- 
nally removed the group of gendarmes living inside the camp 
and replaced them mostly with Indian guards. 

One day orders were issued that everyone must go at once 
to St. Stephen's College. It was a cold rainy day, and almost 
no one had any kind of protection. This building, where the 
hideous bayoneting/ raping, and killing had taken place on 
Christmas Day, was half a mile from the American quarters. 

Then the orders were changed, and everyone was forced to 
inarch to the grounds near the prison. The groups were di- 
vided into nationalities, and then the men were separated from 
the women. The women and children were made to walk in 
files of four toward the prison, where they were searched, then 
told to walk back to St. Stephen's, now far away. It was rain- 
ing with heavy force, and many were sick. Several fainted 
away. 



CONCENTRATED LIFE [ 265 

Some American men finally marched to headquarters, 
against orders, to demand that the women be allowed to gather 
under shelter. The entire group of male internees were also 
searched by Jap soldiers and Indian guards. Apparently the 
search was made for arms, but the day was chosen for its dis- 
agreeableness. When the internees returned to their rooms they 
found everything pulled apart, dropped on the floor, some 
things torn and some stolen. 

John Luke, an English newspaperman, was slapped because 
he did not salute a Jap officer whom he had not seen. Orders 
were issued that we must bow to every Jap, hats must be re- 
moved, and officers saluted. 

I saw an Indian knock down an aged British doctor who did 
not understand his order that a road was temporarily closed. 
A number of times Indian guards kicked women, or hit them 
with guns. At night they often traded shots around the camp, 
and that someone wasn't killed by stray bullets was a miracle. 

Often a group of " visiting firemen," Japanese naval or mili- 
tary officers of high rank, would visit camp. Then the main 
roads were dosed, and people were ordered to stay in their 
quarters. At other times officers would come with small bags 
of candy for the children, and naturally the hungry young- 
sters would follow along to get a bit of sweet, which they had 
not had in months. Always there would also be a photographer 
along to take pictures of the Japs being so good to the in- 
ternees, to use as propaganda films. 

On March 30, a day of torrential rain, twelve of us were 
called to headquarters. This was always a precarious moment, 
for you couldn't tell when you had unintentionally broken a 
iftile. I had nothing but a few bits of very torn raincoat and no 
rubbers, and so was dripping wet when we arrived at head- 
quarters, as were the others. 

Included in the group were the four other newspaper peo- 
ple in camp, Vaughn Meisling of Associated Press, George 
Baxter and Richard Wilson of United Press, and Joseph W. 
Alsop, Jr., writer for a syndicate, on special government as- 



266 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

signment with Brigadier-General Chennault, in an administra- 
tive advisory capacity, caught in Hong Kong en route. There 
were also three Red Cross representatives, Hollis Gale, Wil- 
liam Johnson, and A. M. Fif er; Walter Frese and William Tay- 
lor of the Treasury Department; and Colonel Doughty, a Ca- 
nadian official who had done extraordinary work as Food 
Control Chief during the war. (Eventually added to this pref- 
erential group were the shipping men: T. B. Wilson, Captain 
W. H. Thomas, H. M. Rowland, Fay Booth, E. R. Hearther, 
W. F. Arndt, and Jimmy Clague; and Stanley Healey, J. H. 
Middlecoat, and Paul McLans, Canadians.) 

After waiting a little while, a Japanese officer by the name 
of Ota, head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, arrived. 

" I have good news for you," he stated without preamble. 
" An exchange has been arranged between your government 
and mine, and you are to be sent home." 

Well! 

Has anyone ever given you a million dollars all at once? 
That's approximately the feeling we all had, Fm sure. It seemed 
too good to be true, and yet we knew it was. We had heard 
rumors of such plans, and Mr. Ogura had told me of them in 
February. But plans might take years to complete, and some 
pessimists remembered that it took eighteen months after the 
last war to repatriate Americans. 

" You will leave almost any time, and must be in Shanghai 
by April 20, when the ship will leave for America," Mr. Ota 
continued. " You will be segregated so you can be picked up 
in a hurry." 

When we were dismissed, I flew down the hill on wings. I 
was sure it was not raining rain, for to me the sky was now 
full of gardenias and orchids. 

From that day on we lived from moment to moment, ex- 
pecting to be off at any second. For a week I barely left my 
room for fear I would miss the truck. Actually, it was three 
faH months before we left, and the days became much longer, 
and the hoars much heavier to bear. 



CONCENTRATED LIFE [ 267 

We were never informed that plans had been changed, and 
our lives were disrupted by the Japs' funny ideas about the 
way to do things. Immediately after the meeting our group was 
ordered to move into the same place, so we could be found in 
a hurry. People were moved out of two rooms so the eleven 
could move in, and there was much confusion. I was ordered 
out of my half of the tiny spot where I had been existing, and 
then found myself without anything at all, because of an amus- 
ing situation. 

One of the missionaries on the billeting committee said: 
" Miss Dew can't live in a room with those ten men. We'll 
have to make other arrangements." This was funny to me, for 
I had been assigned to rooms with men since December 20, and 
under war conditions everyone becomes merely a human be- 
ing, not a man or woman, and there is no false modesty. As a 
woman you're glad to have a man's protection against the 
Japs, and as an individual you are just thankful to have any 
spot in which to lay your weary self when night comes; you 
don't care where it is. 

By the time the billeting committee had decided I mustn't 
be pkced with the ten men, my original room had been as- 
signed to someone else and I found myself out on the porch 
not with the safety in numbers of the ten, but with one 
man who was already sleeping there and had no other place 
to go! 

Occupying the same floor were the Maryknoll fathers, a 
group of thirty-two priests, who had made themselves as com- 
fortable as possible in a large apartment across the front of 
the building, of which our section was the servants' quarters. 
These fathers had managed to bring in some stores from their 
mission buildings, which we could see on the opposite hill, and 
they concocted all sorts of special dishes. 

They particularly seemed to miss cigarettes; lack of them 
was a real hardship on many in camp. Once in a while the Japs 
would issue some terrible Chinese or Japanese cigarettes, made 
out of goodness knows what, but their "names were " Horses," 



268 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

" Dogs," and " Pirates," so you can guess too. Whenever Amer- 
ican cigarettes were available, they were from a dollar and a 
half to two dollars a pack, and men paid that gladly when they 
could get them. Everyone smoked down to the last quarter- 
inch, and saved the butts. 

The fathers collected many of these remains and mixed 
them with pine needles and tea leaves. We called these the 
" Padres Special." Any and all kinds of paper were used as 
covering, and it was extremely hard to find any extra scraps to 
use. 

I spent almost all my hours sitting on the porch waiting for 
the truck which didn't come to arrive, and as the fathers went 
back and forth up and down the stairs, I became acquainted 
with them, and we had many long talks. They had to shave in 
a window which overlooked my cot, and as I didn't get up at 
dawn, often Fd still be resting while they were shaving. War 
certainly does juggle up lives, and it is remarkable how most 
people adjust themselves to strange situations. These fathers 
were a fine lot, and I enjoyed knowing them. Among them was 
Father Quinn, who had recently come from the interior and 
had many interesting stories to tell. Father Troesch, who was 
in charge of their kitchen, often slipped me extra bits which 
were exceedingly welcome. 

After a few weeks of this arrangement, the Japs decided to 
make another my fourteenth move since the war began. The 
truck came, all right, but it only took us on a short ride instead 
of to the hoped-for boat. We .were taken out of the bounds of 
the camp to a house near one of the gates. This had been the 
master's house of a Chinese boys' school, which was divided 
in two wings. It was on a high hilltop, and in front the ground 
dropped away steeply to the shore, which was hemmed with 
barbed wire. 

We found the place filled with dirt and debris, and spent a 
hard day cleaning it. All of the electric fixtures had been ripped 

Hand-to-hand fighting had gone on in the house, and there 



CONCENTRATED LIFE [ 269 

were many gaps, most of them now filled with sandbags, but 
the broken windows always let in rivers of rain. The toilet in 
our wing had been blasted out, so there was only a Chinese 
toilet in the back, which did not have a window at first, but 
the men hung a gunny sack over the door, so there was some 
privacy. (They also put up a yellow ribbon they found, which 
read " Second Prize Horse Show/') 

There was not a single piece of furniture in the house, no 
electric lights, no place to cook. When we had been told we 
were going home, I had sold my cot in order to have some 
money on the boat, so I was now without any cot and went 
back to sleeping on the floor. This wasn't bad, except that the 
place was infested with cockroaches, scorpions, centipedes, 
and black spiders. The Stanley cockroaches were of the fly- 
ing variety, and absolutely the biggest I've ever seen in my 
life many three inches long, and dirty enough looking to 
make one nauseated. 

I had a fine big room on the first floor, if one didn't mind 
the broken windows and walls, the bare floors, no privacy, the 
bugs, and the lack of a stick of furniture. But I did have a grand 
roommate, Captain W. H. Thomas, in his sixties, the saving 
feature of the whole situation. It was decided it was not very 
safe for me to have a room by myself, as the house was only a 
few feet from the road which led from the fort, which the 
Japs now occupied, to the village of Stanley, where they went 
for drinks and relaxation. We could often hear them singing 
and stumbling along through the night. There had been too 
many cases of these gendarmes trying to enter women's rooms 
to make it a cheerful thought for me to be alone in this iso- 
lated spot. So Gappy volunteered to make things safe for me, 
for which he earned my eternal gratitude. 

I was pleased not only from that angle; Cappy had such a 
fund of stories that I was continually amused and educated. 
He had sailed the seven seas, served on ships in the last war, 
worked for old Robert Dollar in the heyday of the Dollar 
Line, and been with the American President Line as port of- 



270 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

ficer previous to die war. He had snow-white hair, a sense of 
humor, and a rare quality of kindness and understanding that 
carried me happily through the next few tough months. 

Each night we'd come back from camp, where we had to 
eat, and start killing cockroaches before settling down to read- 
ing. Fd locate them, and Gappy would annihilate them with a 
great scrunch. We were disappointed if our score wasn't at 
least eighteen, for that meant we'd skipped some, and they 
would be sure to crawl into our beds and over our faces dur- 
ing the night. 

Then I'd prop myself up against the wall on the floor (the 
lights were repaired after many days of no illumination), and 
Gappy would crawl into his pallet on the floor, and we'd read 
until eleven, when lights had to go out. 

The Japs would not fix the kitchens in our house, so we had 
to walk twice daily into the camp, a distance which amounted 
to about two miles, at a time when we were so weakened by 
lack of food that it was hard to walk a block. Part of the road 
was hilly, part rocky, and by now the days were either of 
typhoon rain or of glaring sun-filled hours. We didn't have 
umbrellas or rubbers, or hats or sunshades, so we arrived at 
our destinations either soaked or roasted. 

I was saved from having to walk back and forth two times 
each day by Mrs. Rosalie Lewis, who realized what a hard 
jaunt this was so often. Daily I'd take my tin can to Rosalie's 
corner, and we'd eat on her cot, sharing what extras we might 
have gathered. To be saved from that Jtong trek back and forth 
was virtually a Ii esaver. 

Rosalie was nearly sixty, but didn't look it. She had lived in 
Hong Kong thirty years, and felt the loss of her personal 
tilings, but most of all she worried about a little girl she had 
taken care of since the child was one. Now the girl was in die 
care of a French convent in town. Rosalie tried to get her into 
camp, but the Japs wouldn't allow that, and so Rosalie made 
all arrangements for her care until peace comes. 

During all the ensuing months we in the special group were 



CONCENTRATED LIFE [ 271 

allowed to go into camp, but no one was allowed to come to 
our house. Jap reasoning belongs in a world all its own. 

Across the gully from us, members of the American Consu- 
late were held incommunicado in a boys' school, and we were 
punished if we even waved to them! 

One morning word came from there which was particularly 
shocking to me. Russell Engdahl, a member of the Consulate 
in Shanghai, had fallen the night before, hit his head, suffered 
a concussion, and was dead before a doctor arrived. Mrs. Eng- 
dahl belonged to the same sorority as I in college, and I had 
seen Russ many times in Shanghai. 

The Japs issued orders that no one from camp could go to 
the funeral except the chairman of our community, Albert 
Bourne, Jr., Franklin C. Gimson, the secretary of the colonial 
government previous to the war, and several priests. I went to 
the headquarters, explained I had known Mr. Engdahl, and 
asked for special permission to go to the funeral. It was granted. 
Brief services were held in the temporary Consulate amid a 
silent, stunned group. The next day the body was taken to the 
cemetery for a brief service and was put in the slowly growing 
line of new graves that had been dug since the beginning of 
internment. 

Several weeks later a special service was allowed, with full 
Catholic rites. The Right Reverend Bishop O'Gara officiated, 
and a dozen friends from camp were permitted to attend. It 
was a sunny quiet day in the little cemetery, with its weath- 
ered century-old stones, opened when the British first came to 
the island, marking the years and the deaths of the men who 
defended the fort. Above the new graves only bare woodea 
crosses stood guard over the doctors and nurses whom the Japs 
had murdered, who now rested in this sanctuary on a high hill 
overlooking the sea. 

Pine trees whispered near the gray wall, and hibiscus bushes 
marched up the walks to add beauty with their blossoms. The 
world and war were far away, and we were there to honor a 
dead friend who had " only passed on bef ore," far from home 



272 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

and family. I put a handful of blossoms on the grave, with my 
sorority pin fastened in their hearts in thought of Mrs. Eng- 
dahl, who was waiting in far-away America. 

So now there was another cross in the little cemetery, to mark 
the eternal resting-place of an American who had remained at 
his post in the Far East to serve his countrymen at home. 



Chapter XXVI 

Human Nature in the 
Raw 



JL WOKE up one night with a startled feeling that someone 
was moving in the room. Then I could see a man kneeling at 
the head of Cappy's sleeping-place on the floor, and I could 
discern the shadow of a bayonet. I nearly swallowed my heart, 
which suddenly had become located in my mouth. 

Then I heard a voice: " Cigarettes, master? Want buy cig- 
arettes? " 

Some crazy Chinese guard had smuggled in a few packages 
of cigarettes, and was going from person to person in our 
house, at two a.m., to ask if they wanted to buy. Poor devil 
I suppose he needed the few extra dollars, but I wish he hadn't 
scared us all into jitters to get them. Several days later the Jap- 
anese beheaded three guards whom they found doing the same 
thing! 

That wasn't half so disconcerting, however, as the arrival of 
a tiger in our camp. There had never been one on the island of 
Victoria before, but suddenly there was a pair. The Chinese 
said this presaged good luck, and we hoped the luck would 
be ours. 

They first appeared in near-by Stanley one morning, and 
the guard who discovered them nearly had apoplexy, and 

273 



274 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

probably wondered where he had been the night before. He 
called a soldier to check his eyesight. The soldier came with a 
rifle, verified the sight, and killed one tiger. It weighed 275 
pounds, which is a bit of an animal to meet unexpectedly on a 
dark night. Its mate had been sighted, but was not caught. 
Then it turned up in our camp, digging in garbage piles at 
night, skulking through the gardens, and leaving spoor here 
and there. 

The Japanese organized a hunt one day, sending truckloads 
of dark-skinned, brilliantly-turbaned Sikhs into camp with 
long rifles. As they climbed single-file up the peaks near the 
fort, it looked like a scene from a tiger-hunt in Bengal, or 
Hollywood, and I'm sure the Indians were delighted with the 
diversion. 

The next night we were awakened with enough shots to 
kill a regiment. It was bright moonlight, and from my window 
I could see the silhouette of an Indian guard in front of the 
Consulate building, aiming his rifle down at the beach, where 
he thought he had seen the lurking beast. If the tiger was as 
frightened by the shots as I was, perhaps she died of heart fail- 
ure. She was never found, although the hunt went on for a 
week, and each night the animal was reported in a different 
place. She stuck her head into one of the bungalows and prac- 
tically petrified the occupants. I warned Gappy that I expected 
him to catch the beast for my private collection of Stanley tro- 
phies, and I was never sure when I saw a shadow at the window 
at night that the huge thing hadn't decided to investigate our 
quarters. We were used to all sorts of queer things by this time. 

One morning I woke up with a badly swollen ankle, with 
an angry red spot in the middle of it. A miserable bkck spider 
had bitten me, and for a number of days I kept wondering 
whether the little beast was a black widow or just a spider 
with a slightly poisonous nip. Apparently I was popular with 
the minor-sized animals in camp, for next a malaria mosquito 
bk me, leaving fever in my blood 

Suddenly word again came from headquarters ordering us 



HUMAN NATURE IN THE RAW [ 275 

to the hilltop. I was lying on die cot in the doorway, feeling 
miserable with dengue fever, during which you shiver, shake, 
and freeze then sweat, roast, and swear. I thought it might 
be important news about our home-going, as only the news- 
paper people were called, so I climbed into some clothes and 
wobbled along. 

At headquarters was the one Japanese who had tried con- 
sistently to be decent to me, die Domei newspaper representa- 
tive, Mr. Ogura. With him were a number of other Jap news- 
papermen, most of whom spoke little or no English. 

"Since you are going home soon," Mr. Ogura said, "we 
thought it would be nice if the newspaper people could meet 
together as such, and not as enemies. It will be our job after 
the war to interpret our countries to each other, and we hope 
we will meet again then." 

He added something which might have been propaganda, 
but which I felt he himself, at least, thought was true: " Japan 
is at war with America, but the Japanese are nor at war with 
the Americans." (Of course this feeling will inevitably change 
as our planes bomb Japan, and our navy, marines and army 
close in and ultimately defeat Nippon.) " While this is just a 
friendly visit, there are probably some questions we'd like to 
ask one another," Mr. Ogura continued, turning to the Jap 
reporters. They replied with such queries as: " How long will 
the war last? ""What do you think of Russia? ""Will Russia 
declare war on Japan? " 

Most of these questions were addressed to a reporter who 
had spent a good deal of time with the puppet Chinese and 
Jap heads of the camp. Mr. Meisling, who sat next to me, and 
I were gkd not to be questioned, because we did not want to 
be quoted in the Jap press. Then came some questions in which 
I was personally interested. 

" Are the Americans well fed in camp? " die reporter was 
asked. 

" They have plenty to eat," he replied 

Although I knew it was better to keep still, my feminine 



276 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

tongue wouldn't be quiet. " I don't think so," I interrupted. 
" I think there are many hungry people." 

" They can get packages from town," he said. (During our 
last weeks, the Japanese allowed people in Hong Kong to send 
in packages once a week, containing not more than five items.) 

" Lots of people don't have friends there, and many in town 
have no money to buy," I went on. 

" Well, there's the canteen." 

" It is open every four or five weeks, for people who have 
money," I insisted. " Only a hundred out of thirty-five hun- 
dred can buy, and many haven't a penny to spend." I turned 
to Mr. Ogura. " I say this to you, Mr. Ogura, because I want 
you to know how I feel about the food the Americans are get- 
ting, even though I've been criticized because I won't let peo- 
ple say anything against you personally, when I tell them how 
nice you have been to me." 

My anxiety to get this matter straight in the Japanese news- 
papermen's minds before we left, lay particularly in the infer- 
ence they could draw that since the Americans were well fed, 
so were the three thousand British and Dutch people we were 
leaving behind us, for we were all getting the same rations. 

I later saw in both the Hong Kong and the Shanghai papers 
the dispatch which Domei made of Reporter X7s statements: 

" A dispatch from Chungking, quoting first-hand in- 
formation, frankly reveals that favourable conditions exist in 
Hong Kong, with the British and American prisoners receiv- 
ing sufficient food and clothing. Prisoners are receiving pack- 
ages of food and other supplies, including clothings, from 
outside, a special privilege permitted by Stanley Camp authori- 



ties." 



Later in die interview Mr. Ogura asked: " Perhaps you peo- 
ple have some questions too? " 

" I've got one," I couldn't resist the opportunity to say. 

* What is it?" 

" As you said, when we newspaper people get home, we are 
going to have to interpret what we've seen and heard while in 



HUMAN NATURE IN THE RAW [ 277 

the Far East. One thing we will be asked is: c Were Kurusu 
and Nomura in the White House when Pearl Harbor was 
bombed, and if so, why? * " 

There was a startled look on Mr. Ogura's face, but before 
he could speak, Reporter X interrupted: " Mr. Ogura can't 
answer that. He'd lose his job if he did." I knew that full well, 
but I wanted the question on record. 

" However, that is what we shall be asked," I replied, " so 
let's let Mr. Ogura decide." 

"Yes, that's .right," the Domei man said. "What was the 
question again? " 

I repeated it. He translated it to the other Japanese, who 
looked at me, not in anger, as might have been expected, but 
with the interest I believe all sincere newspaper reporters feel 
in a straight question, no matter if it is from the side opposed 
to their views. There was a bit of silence, which I felt needn't 
be stretched to a breaking-point. I was fully aware there was 
no answer a Jap could give to that question at the moment 
in fact, at any time in future history, for it is written in bloody 
and shameful answers at Pearl Harbor. But I wished these Jap 
reporters to realize the way Americans felt about what their 
country had done to the world, and why we would fight them 
to the death. 

" AH right, Mr. Ogura," I said. "You try to get the answer 
for me from military headquarters. Don't hold the question 
against anyone here, Mr. X or anyone else. Just chalk it up 
against me, and when you get the answer, give it to me. Women 
always ask embarrassing questions, you know! " I ended, try- 
ing to ease the tension. 

Everything went on as before, and it really was an inter- 
esting gathering under the circumstances: newspaper people 
trying to interpret things in the broad view, enemies according 
to international circumstances, but meeting together before 
being separated by oceans and war-time conditions. 

There had been several bottles of Scotch on the table, and 
tins of cigarettes, and although the Japs didn't drink, they had 



378 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

brought what they thought the American correspondents 
would like. As we left they handed a bottle to each guest, and 
a tin of cigarettes. Of course these were things that 99^0 
per cent of people in camp hadn't had for many months, and 
I knew there were some in our house who would enjoy hav- 
ing a little peace-time pleasure, so I was delighted with my of- 
fering from the Japanese. We all bowed and expressed the 
hope we would meet again after the war. 

The following experience is purely personal, but it was such 
a startling disclosure of human nature that it amazed me, as it 
did all who heard of it. Reporter X had not upheld the code 
of honor of a reporter: to stand for your fellows at any cost. 
But his part in the " Case of the Stolen Scotch " was doubly 
revealing. 

As we started down the hill, he offered to carry my bottle 
for me, and I was impressed with the fact that he wasn't angry 
with me for disagreeing with him at the meeting. On die way 
we saw several people from our house. " Come in tonight; IVe 
got a treat for you from the Japs," I called. I went directly to 
my room and gave Gappy the tin of cigarettes, for although he 
didn't smoke, I knew he liked to share things too* " Here's a 
present for you," I said, " but Pve got something bigger in the 
other room." 

I went to the wing where X lived, and asked for the Scotch. 

"What Scotch? "he asked. 

" The bottle the Japs gave me." 

" I don't know what you're talking about," he answered. 

I thought he was joking, and so reminded him he had said 
he wouldn't drop it, referring to an incident about which we 
both knew. " I haven't got it," he insisted. " Maybe you gave 
it to someone else." When I became convinced he was in ear- 
nest, my temper blew sky-high. It doesn't let go often, but 
when k does, the boiling-point is but zero. 

" That's the dirtiest trick I've ever known anyone t&pulL 
It would be bad enough in peace-time, but in these circum- 
-stances it's plain rotten! " 



HUMAN NATURE IN THE RAW [ 279 

Then X lost his temper too. " Of course I took it," he yelled. 
" If I hadn't, you would have sold it, not drank it." 

" If I had sold it for five thousand dollars, it wasn't your busi- 
ness. The Japs gave it to me to do what I wanted with. Fve al- 
ready invited guests for tonight, and I want what's mine." 

After that it was a battle, with no quarter asked. I didn't like 
Reporter X, and he didn't like me. When it was over I was 
ashamed of having lost my temper, but there's something 
about someone annexing a bottle of Scotch even if you only 
want it to give away that made me mad clear to the top of 
my slightly auburn hair. There was a household of men listen- 
ing, but when the speech-shooting began they had all grace- 
fully retired to where they couldn't be seen, even though I 
knew they were listening gleefully. 

Feminine reporters have to be women first of all, I suppose, 
so I returned to my room with tears in my eyes. I was humili- 
ated at the scene, angry at myself and still mad about the 
Scotch, I admit. Gappy said: " Forget it. It's not worth being 
disturbed about. It will come out all right." 

No one in the house ever mentioned it until near the day of 
our departure, when one of the leaders in the community said: 
" You know, Gwen, people are seldom fooled all the time. 
You'll find that everyone judges 'who says a thing, not what 
they say about someone else. Other people's judgment is al- 
ways the last word in any argument." I knew what he referred 
to, and was grateful for what he was saying to me. In fact, it's 
a good thing to remember at any time, anywhere! 

Almost immediately after this several empty boxes turned 
up in our room, which made fine chairs and were as precious 
as Chippendale in camp. Then Gappy and Jimmy dague took 
down a door which wasn't being used, made some legs for it, 
and I had a grand table. Mr. E. B. McGhee lent me an army cot 
. also. I had been most of half a year without a bed, chair, or 
table, and here, within a few weeks of our departure, I ac- 
quired them all. In a garbage heap I found a chipped bowl in 
which I could put hibiscus each day, and no one ever felt more 



280 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

pride in a Park Avenue apartment than I did in my treasures. 
There was a gardenia bush in the garden, and the day it pro- 
duced a blossom for me was a very special one. 

Each day loads of Japanese soldiers with guns went past the 
house on the way to the fort above. Once there were ten truck- 
loads of big guns. A few days later we could hear the sound of 
anti-aircraft fire from the fort, and a few planes flew over. We 
had read that the Japanese were making a movie of the sur- 
render of Hong Kong, to combine with their newsreels to 
make an entire feature. Now they were re-enacting the taking 
of Fort Stanley. 

Sometimes we could see f erryloads of soldiers arriving or 
departing from the jetty below, always with full war equip- 
ment. In the daytime there was a gun we called " The Killer," 
because it would fire on any little Chinese fishing junks which 
ventured out of a certain Une in which they were allowed to 
proceed. Sometimes they would burn, sometimes limp back 
into Stanley. One day a whole line was fired on, and a small 
Jap gunboat took them away. One broke loose, drifted close 
to the rocks of the camp, and those who understood Chinese 
could hear a woman crying over a baby's wail: " Save life, 
please! Save life, please! " 

But the sight which most gladdened our eyes were large 
ships which crawled back from the ocean on fire or badly 
damaged. We knew that out at sea were American submarines 
watching the coastline, and undoubtedly sinking many Jap 
boats, as well as smashing the ones we were seeing; and we 
cheered. We were cut off from all Allied news, and some- 
times wondered if there were any but Japanese victories in 
die world. This evidence, right in front of our eyes, that Amer- 
ica had not forgotten the litde island of Victoria did much to 
keep rtp our morale. 

Some days, however, it seemed the plan to repatriate us 
most have fallen through or we would have been on our way 
Jong before. It was now two months since we had been in- 
formed we were going immediately. And there were a few 



HUMAN NATURE IN THE RAW [ 28l 

nasty souls who liked to try to make us feel good by saying: 
" You really aren't going home, you know. That was just Jap 
propaganda." In our hearts we knew differently, for all of us 
had supreme belief that our American government would not 
forget her citizens who were suffering at the hands of the Japs. 

Then came the splendid news that the United States had de- 
cided to bring home all of the internees at Stanley, as well as 
many other Americans in the Far East. 

We felt deep sorrow for those who were to be left behind, 
for all of us had friends in both the Dutch and the British com- 
munities. At one rime the Dutch were told by the Japs they 
were to be repatriated to the East Indies. They did not feel 
they wanted to go, as that was under the Jap flag also, and their 
homeland, Holland, was under German rule, so they would 
not be improving their condition by leaving. 

There was a tremendous amount of confusion for a few 
weeks, while it was straightened out who would be allowed to 
return to America. Some men had British, Russian, Chinese, or 
Australian wives, but it was decided to keep families together, 
with the exception of Chinese wives, who were held, because 
of our restrictive kws. 

A few days before our departure a group of Jap officers 
strutted into a room where some Americans had drawn a map 
with our route home marked on it, leaving out Japan, where 
we were not going. 

One officer ripped a pencil from his pocket, and drew a line 
around China, Indo-China, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, the 
East Indies, the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia, India, part 
of Russia, Aleutians, Alaska, Hawaii, west coast of the United 
States. Then he wrote in large letters across it: JAPAN. 

He turned toward the Americans in the room and with his 
saber began hitting each one across the face. 

"Remember that when you return home," he screamed, 
" and that and that and that! " 

We'll remember it. We'll remember too how during our 
imprisonment our devotion increased to. those things which 



282 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

are good in democratic people. Through desperate struggle, 
through loss of all material things, through destruction and 
death, came a glowing spirit of sacrifice, determination, brav- 
ery. It takes bravery to go hungry for months and keep on 
smiling; it takes sacrifice to share your last little piece of bread; 
it takes determination to face the enemy day by day, while he 
gloats in your face over your captivity, your ignominious de- 
feat, your imprisonment under his flag, and never show the 
sorrow in your heart. 

That takes guts. That's what the Americans, British, Dutch, 
and Chinese have. 

Even as our time of deliverance drew closer, the news still 
seemed too good to be true, and there was an underlying cur- 
rent of anxiety that something might cause cancellation of the 
plans. Nevertheless everyone went ahead making preparations, 
and there was an air of excitement as exhilarating as martial 
music when the marines march off to war! 



Chapter XXVII 

It's Good-by for Now 



"UR hearts insisted on throbbing in our throats these last 
days, as we went from friend to friend saying good-by, for 
how long we did not know. For some, forever. We took mes- 
sages to people in Australia and Canada, Scotland and Eng- 
land, families and friends who still did not know whether 
these internees were even alive, since the Japs never issued an 
official list of prisoners. To this day they never have given out 
any complete list of the 10,000 soldiers held in Hong Kong, 
the 3,000 civilians at Stanley, or the 150,000 white prisoners 
they hold in the Far East. 

We had been warned by the Japanese that we would be 
punished by military law if even one scrap of paper with an 
address was found during inspection. No notes, no names 
would be allowed to go with us to give comfort to those who 
waited at home for news of these Jap prisoners. 

Bibles with written marginal notes, meaning perhaps a life- 
time of study, had to be left behind, as did sermons and rec- 
ords of long years of work in China. Photographs with in- 
scriptions had to be destroyed. So did diaries, precious letters, 
intimate things from people who were perhaps now dead. 
Deeds, wills, and proved business records were the only pa- 
pers allowed to be taken. 

I was determined to take certain things with me, including 
the list of the 3,000 British and Dutch internees, for I knew 

283 



284 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

how worried I had been about my family's not knowing 
whether I was dead or alive all these months, and I wanted to 
take what small cheer I could to other waiting families. When 
I reached New York, the British Colonial Office cabled to ask 
for the list, and it was cabled back to England and published 
in London, as was the report I gave on food and living-condi- 
tions in camp. I think it was in part these facts on which An- 
thony Eden based his report on what was going on in Camp 
Stanley, soon after our arrival in the United States. 

I also had several hundred addresses to which friends had 
asked me to write, some notes written in almost invisibly small 
writing (2,000 words on four square inches of paper), and 
about five negatives, all that was left of my picture treasures. 

I spent many nights hiding these things, then deciding they 
weren't in a safe spot and putting them somewhere else. One 
place I finally chose was inside a pair of old wooden Ming 
dolls. I found the heads came off, and there was an empty 
place in their tummies. I cut the papers in tiny pieces, rolled 
them, and with a pin forced them inside. Then I put pieces of 
dirty rags on top, so that if the Japs looked there, all they 
would see would be the rags. 

Gappy knew what I was up to, as did two other men in our 
house, and they were worried about my being caught, and 
then goodness knows what those little Japs would have done 
to me. One of them had been in Japan when a refugee ship 
had sailed just before the war, and an Indian was found with 
ten dollars pasted between the soles of his shoes. Every per- 
son on that boat was marched off again and searched thor- 
oughly, to the point of ripping men's coat lapels and shoulder 
padding apart, and examining the most intimate parts of the 
women's bodies. That information didn't add to my peace of 
mind either, and I f eh I was loading my luggage with TNT 
with an exposed fuse* 

I was not so much afraid of what would happen to me, as of 
what would be done to all the rest of the internees if one was 
caught. The sailing might have been postponed, and I cer- 



IT'S GOOD-BY FOR NOW [ 285 

tainly didn't want to be responsible for that. But I still felt I 
had to take the chance, and I knew some of the others in camp 
were also hiding a few things, as was inevitable. I could only 
hope the fates were playing ball on our side. 

Great good luck had just visited me at this point, for the 
Japanese decided to make a test case of the Repulse Bay Hotel 
luggage* Miss Matheson, the former manager, had been re- 
questing the Japs to let what remained of it be brought to 
camp, arid after months of pleading they decided favorably. 
We were warned that if there was a single complaint about 
anything missing, it meant that no one else's luggage would 
ever be sent for. We knew that the fine houses of the internees 
who had lived on the Peak were completely looted, but some 
had lived in hotels, and their luggage had not been so disturbed. 

I had always held to the belief that the bags at Repulse Bay 
Hotel were behind the door sealed by the gendarmerie, even 
though many claimed that was only Jap propaganda. So it was 
a gala day when we were told our luggage had really arrived, 
and we were to be taken to the gendarmerie in Stanley to claim 
it. 

In a huge garage all the remaining luggage was stacked, and 
we searched with anxiety as it was placed outside. I had had 
nine pieces and I would have been happy to see one. I was 
lucky enough to find four, and although each had been par- 
tially looted, I was so gkd to see anything left that it was like 
Christmas. My typewriter was gone, my scrapbook with ev- 
erything I had written in ten years, an entire bag of ancient 
Peking jewelry I had spent many months and miles in collect- 
ing, a Bell and HoweU movie camera and films, fine Chinese 
scrolls, a jade necklace, my wool clothes, new shoes, fur capes, 
and such things. I didn't mind, however, for there were sum- 
mer dresses, shoes, and cosmetics, all the things so badly needed 
by the women in camp. 

I enjoyed giving away many things to friends who had been 
so good to me when I had nothing. I knew I could get more, 
but these people might not get anything for months or a year 



286 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

to come. Now Fm sorry I felt I needed a single article for my 
journey home. 

My few remaining possessions gave me places to hide the 
names and addresses which I was determined to carry away, 
for it certainly would have been almost impossible to conceal 
them in my meager belongings before these bags arrived. The 
Ming dolls had been left alone by the looters because they were 
so old and ragged-looking, but they were my lif esavers now. 

I sent a note into Hong Kong through the Jap headquarters 
to get my cameras which I had entrusted to Needa. He turned 
over one, but sent back word that a Japanese officer had con- 
fiscated my beloved Rofliflex, which I can't replace now be- 
cause of the impossibility of importing German cameras. His 
story was that die Jap had heard he was holding my cameras, 
offered to buy one, but was told they were not for sale. The 
officer insisted on borrowing one for a few days, and never 
returned it. I was not in a position to check this story, but it 
did not sound likely that the officer, as long as he was helping 
himself, would not have taken the entire four cameras instead 
of only one. I had been offered $2,oooHK for the camera be- 
fore going into camp, and so regretted I hadn't sold it myself. 

Later I was to hear a queer story about Needa, which may 
or may not be true. One of the few American women who 
were free in Hong Kong was at a party which included some 
Jap officers and Needa. One Nipponese officer asked the ex- 
jockey: " Where 'were you at Repulse Bay when you signaled 
us to come in?" This was the man whom I had felt was one of 
the heroes of the siege! I don't know whether to believe it or 
not. I don't want to. I only record it as it was told to me. 

When the ship finally arrived, Mr. Ogura, the newspaper- 
man, brought my remaining camera, with one belonging to a 
friend, and was very apologetic for not being able to keep his 
promise that all my cameras would go with me when I re- 
turned to the United States. The two left were put under seal, 
to be delivered to me after landing in East Africa. Although 1 
hated to lose all the rest of my cameras and equipment, again 



IT'S GOOD-BY FOR NOW L 

I was lucky in getting even one, despite the fact that it was 
broken. But my film was gone forever my exclusive and 
precious pictures of the last days of Hong Kong, the fall of a 
city which had been part of the British Empire for a hundred 
and one years. 

On Sunday, June 29, the Japanese gendarmes arrived to 
search our luggage, and it was a particularly feverish time for 
those of us who had concealed anything. Everything was 
taken out of the buildings and placed in the roadway for in- 
spection. No British or Dutch people were allowed in the vi- 
cinity. It was a terrifically hot tropical day, and the gendarmes 
and the civilians suffered alike. Our house, being out of bounds, 
was last, and I think the gendarmes were tired by the time 
they reached there, because they did not make the minute in- 
spection we had expected. When they chalk-marked my bags 
as passed, I sent a great big bundle of thanks skywards. They 
went away leaving our luggage still unlocked, and promptly 
everyone in the house stuck in any papers he had not yet 
destroyed. 

Late in the afternoon trucks came and took away our lug- 
gage. It seemed strange and empty in the house that night, and 
departure began to seem a reality. 

I stood taking a last look down the road toward Stanley 
when I saw a lonely little procession of four. There was a 
slouching Jap gendarme and a Jesuit priest walking ahead, fol- 
lowed by a young Chinese woman, and stumbling blindly 
along behind was a small Chinese girl. 

I ran out, calling: " Sugar! Sugar! " 

The last one turned around, and came rushing back as fast 
as her young legs would bring her. She threw herself in my 
arms, sobbing and shaking, her thin arms holding me as though 
she would never let go. 

The youngster was the twelve-year-old protg of George 
Baxter, UP correspondent. She was talented, and so sweet her 
nickname was obvious. I had known her before the war, and 
had been greatly interested in her artistic abilities. She had 



288 ] PRISONER OP THE JAPS 

been brought to camp by the priest and her older sister to bid 
George good-by, and had started back down the long hot 
road to die city. 

" George will come back for you, honey," was all I could 
say as I patted her heaving shoulders. "We'll send the whole 
darned American navy after you. Don't you worry, Sugar, 
we'll get rid of those Japs. We'll all come back for you, I 
promise! " 

The Jap gendarme far ahead beckoned summarily. I had to 
turn the lonely little girl around, and she went stumbling back 
to hungry Hong Kong and captive China. 

I went to the hospital the last morning about eleven to visit 
fine Bill O'Neill of Renter's, who was there suffering se- 
verely from the effect of our meager rations. The little hos- 
pital faced the sea, so that the sick ones could look toward the 
horizon and home. Someone called from below: 

"The ship has come. It's here! It's here! " 

I ran to the windows, while all of the sick Englishmen raised 
themselves on their elbows and looked wistfully out. There, 
stealing across the skyline, was a large ship, with white crosses 
marked on its side, sliding slowly along past the island. It was 
the ASQWUL Maru y our rescue ship, our means of going back to 
America, to our homes and our loved ones. Tears were in ev- 
eryone's eyes, and there were no words to be said. 

It was a queer last night. We sat on the steps of the house in 
the moonlight, listening to the beat of the surf which was so 
near, yet so unreachable, and sang songs of home. From high 
on the hill above we could hear more voices, and across in the 
Consulate building still more. Although there was rejoicing in 
the music, there was an underlying tone of sorrow and tears 
too, for we were leaving friends behind, still prisoners of Japan. 

It was a hot clear day, June 29, which will always be as 
memorable in our lives as the fateful December 7 which began 
it alL Two busses stopped in front of the house a minute, en 
route to die waterfront, filled with the American bankers 
who had been left in Hong Kong all during this time, the few 



IT'S GOOD-BY FOR NOW [ 289 

other Americans who had been free, and the Chinese- Ameri- 
cans who were going with us. There were reunions and shouted 
greetings, for we had been separated since victory came to the 
Japanese. 

Then we could see the people from the Consulate across the 
gully start on their way to the jetty, where small ferries waited 
to take us to the big ship anchored a few miles out at sea. Our 
turn came next, and we walked down the long white road for 
the last time, after the hundreds of times we had trudged it so 
wearily and so hungrily. I looked into the little hole in the 
rock cliff where dwelt Romeo and Juliet, the lizards we had 
watched throughout the months. And up at the cemetery 
where friends were left for eternity, and also where living 
friends were now sitting in long rows on the gray wall, wav- 
ing to us with one hand, while many held handkerchiefs to 
their trembling mouths with the other. 

I said a silent good-by to Russell Engdahl, who lies quietly 
under the white cross. I saluted in my heart those five British- 
ers whose names will be written in history for having stayed 
at their posts under the Red Cross symbol and had been killed 
by wanton Japanese bayonets Colonel Dr. Black, Dr. Whit- 
ney, Mrs. White, Mrs. Buxton, Mrs. Begg. 

And I waved at Lucile Eichenbaum, Margaret Jay, and 
Margaret Morgan, at Marjorie Matheson, white-haired Miss 
Mosey, and Mrs. Logan from Repulse Bay Hotel, Joan and 
Mary Smalley, Anne Clinton, Eric Curtis and John Luke, at 
the young police officer, Dingsdale, who had risked his life to 
try to get me back into Hong Kong, Josephine Greenland and 
small Derek at all the friends who were sitting there, and to 
all those who had made the long trek through Gethsemane 
the day before Christmas. What a heartbreak it all was! 

A young Chinese who had been in charge of one part of the 
camp fell in step with me. " Fm leaving for Chungking to- 
night," he said in a whisper. " I can't bear to stay after the 
Americans are gone. Fve served my purpose here, and Fm go- 
ing back to my own country and my own people. 77 As a Jap 



] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

gendarme approached, he silently fell behind me down the 
stony path which led to the wharf. 

We were checked through a narrow passageway, and Mr. 
Ota of the Foreign Office, who had first informed us we 
were going home, rose to bow and bid me good-by. " Good 
luck," was all he said, but I thought he might be expressing 
regrets for what had happened to us at Stanley. 

Our ferry held the people from the Consulate, all those we 
had been seeing for months from so near and yet so far, to 
whom we had not been able to call or wave. 

Then down the hill from the camp came the long weary 
line of Americans, carrying children and bags bags made 
from gunny sacks and broken boxes and pillowcases wear- 
ing rough hand-made wooden dogs and cloth shoes, ragged 
dresses and torn shorts and threadbare trousers the men shirt- 
less, the women without hats in the blistering sun. For the 
most part it was a silent line, since at the moment our happi- 
ness was overflooded by the desperate feeling of loneliness we 
had for those friends watching from the hills above while we 
turned homewards. 

We were transferred to a larger boat, which became jammed. 
Ferry after ferry came out with the shabby, hungry lot- 
Americans whom their country had not forgotten, who were 
being taken back to the land of the Stars and Stripes. 

Finally everyone was taken from the shore, and the boat 
turned slowly to the ship which awaited us at sea. We stood 
by the ratling, waving good-by to those we could not see 
through the tears. Those high hills of camp were black with 
people, for almost the entire 3,000 British and Dutch, and a 
few Americans who were left behind, were standing there, 
bravely watching, waiting, weeping. We lifted our hands in 
final arewdl to those who must stay and so serve their coun- 
try and our cause, who must suffer and sicken and go hungry 
on the few bowlfuls of food the Japanese will give diem, face 
mistreatment, and perhaps war again over the hills of Hong 
Kong before they are free once more. 



IT'S GOOD-BY FOR NOW [ 29! 

The ship at sea loomed nearer and nearer, its white crosses 
standing high, the promise of protection across the eighteen 
thousand miles that still lay between us and home. It flew the 
flag of the Rising Sun, and we had yet a month to live under 
that hated symbol of blood and death. But we knew that the 
United States had planned every detail of our going, the first 
time in the history of international warfare that an exchange 
of prisoners had been arranged in such numbers, for such dis- 
tances, during warfare. 

We went across the gangplank, under the protection of the 
white crosses, onto the ship that was to take us to exchange and 
to freedom at Louren9o Marques, Portuguese East Africa, 
half a world away, but representing a goal of which we had 
dreamed through long hopeless months. 

Sunset flushed the sky with scarlet and gold as the ship 
sailed, and we waved a last farewell to the friends we left be- 
hind, to their spirit and courage, and to their final liberation. 

The ship gained momentum as we moved out into the China 
Sea and we were headed toward the United States of Amer- 
ica! 



Chapter XXVIH 

Out of Human Bondage 



> LL of the seas of the world in darkness. Black shadows of 
ships slipping through the night, darkened, and with constant 
fear in the hearts of the men aboard. Oily gray shapes plung- 
ing into die deepness of the seas, seeking to destroy and to 
murder. Long convoys of fugitive ships, watching for the 
enemy vultures of the air, the ocean, and its depths. Droning 
ships of the sky watching, waiting, ready to drop death on 
men below. 

But moving slowly across the waters South China Sea, 
Sunda Strait, Indian Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean, North At- 
lantic Ocean three ships in brightness, without fear, flags 
flying, crosses of mercy standing high. 

And on all the globe only these ships carrying happy peo- 
ple toward their loved ones at home. Three specks on thou- 
sands of miles of ocean the Swedish Gripsholm, the Italian 
Conte Verde, the Japanese Asama Maru. 

It was June 26 when the Asama left Yokohama, June 28 
when the Conte Verde sailed from Shanghai, and June 1 8 when 
the Gripsholm left New York with the Japanese repatriates, 
the most unusual exchange of war prisoners in all history. The 
Asama had been held a week in the harbor of Yokohama while 
negotiations faltered, and those on board were tense with fear 
they would be taken off again; many said they would commit 
suicide rather than go back to the torture and die Jap jails. 

292 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 293 

Never has there been such a migration, and we who are part 
of it are the luckiest people in existence. None of us expected 
to see our loved ones again for years. We had lived under the 
human bondage that the Japanese imposed on the people who 
were white, without hope of the days to come. We had re- 
ceived, for the most part, treatment such as medieval conquer- 
ors imposed on their captives, all the way from torture to semi- 
starvation. 

Among us were friends, men and women, who were held in 
solitary confinement for months, barred from all communica- 
tion with the outside world, with nothing to read, the floor on 
which to sleep, electric lights in their eyes at night. These 
were the newspaper and radio people in Japan and Shanghai; 
these were the executives of all the leading American firms in 
the Far East, including Standard Oil, the National City Bank, 
the Chase Bank, the American President Lines, Warner Broth- 
ers. Their sin had been that they were Americans and that they 
were heads of the firms from which the Japanese had been 
buying for years. Our national sin was that we sold war ma- 
terials to the Japs while we pledged our friendship to China, 
knowing our materials were being used against those friends 
who were defending their country against invasion, knowing 
that Japan was preparing for war against us too. 

Among us on the Asama Maru were elderly men who had 
been subjected to the " water torture " of the Middle Ages; 
those who were bound with barbed wire, with live electric 
wires, who were slapped daily with bundles of bamboo on all 
the nerve centers of die body. 

If at any time the ship had been sunk, with it would have 
gone all of the ablest diplomats of the Far East, including Jo- 
seph C Grew, Ambassador to Japan, and Mrs. Grew; Willys 
Peck, Minister to Thailand, and Mrs. Peck; Richard P. But- 
rick, Counselor of the Embassy at Peking (who had gone to 
the Orient on the same ship I did in May 1941 ) . There would 
have been the ranking South American diplomats from Japan: 
Sir Ricardo Rivera Schreiber and Lady Schreiber, Peruvian 



294 3 PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

Minister and his wife; Francisco Castello Branco dark, Bra- 
zilian Ambassador, and his secretaries, Pedro Nabuco de 
Abreau and Rouy Guimaraes; Ambassador Mitchekon of Co- 
lombia; General Amezcau, Minister from Mexico, and Mrs. 
Amezcau; and the Mexican Military Attach6, General Ramon 
Iturbe. 

The Consuls-General included Alberto Perez-Saez of Hong 
Kong, from Peru; Jorge Rooselot of Yokohama, from Chile; 
Jos6 Chihan of Kobe, from Paraguay; Jose Luiz Saravia of Yo- 
kohama, from Bolivia; Carlos Rodriguez of Yokohama, from 
Venezuela; Joaquin Zavala of Tokyo, from Nicaragua. The 
Minister from Brazil to China, Renato de Lacerda Lagos, was 
also aboard, and his wife. 

The original plans for exchange had included only members 
of the State and Treasury Departments, Red Cross, newspaper 
and shipping people. I was included as a special foreign corre- 
spondent of the Detroit News. When there was space left for 
additional passengers, it was decided to bring all who had been 
imprisoned and mistreated, missionaries, women, and children. 

There was a certain amount of justifiable feeling among 
the men that the women and children of missionary families 
should have returned to the United States two years before 
when their own wives and children had the families of the 
diplomats, executives, and other business people who had been 
sent home at the urgent suggestion of our government. There 
was scarcely a woman aboard the ship who did not belong in 
the itussionary group. I was glad my skirts were clear, and that 
I was present with my government's full and special approval. 

One missionary wife had eight children, and that meant that 
nine American businessmen who had been ordered to remain 
at their posts until the American flag came down had to stay 
behind, facing imprisonment and torture. It is felt that the Japs, 
having had to release the number-one executive in each com- 
pany through repatriation, will now take the number two's 
and subject them to the same imprisonment and torture. 

The greatest single group on the ship were the missionaries, 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 295 

of whom there were 593 American Protestants and 117 Cath- 
olics. It cost the mission boards of America over half a million 
dollars to bring these people home, without figuring die sal- 
aries which will have to be paid for the last eight months, dur- 
ing which these people were inactive. Behind them they left 
missions, churches, schools, and hospitals, investments of many 
millions of American dollars which are now in Japanese hands, 
or have already been destroyed by them. 

Never before in civilized history has there been a missionary 
pilgrimage of this tremendous proportion, covering three quar- 
ters of the world and most of the oceans. It was foil retreat in 
front of the Japanese militarists, who proved that the years of 
work, effort, and expenditure would crumble overnight when 
the choice came between home country and the precepts of 
Christianity. 

There was a small pacifist group, who called themselves 
"Friends of Japan." Why they weren't left among their 
" friends " I don't know, except that the Japs wouldn't have a 
pacifist among them for love or money. One was particularly 
active in trying to convert others to his views. Pressed by 
newspaper correspondents, he said that if any Americans had 
been mistreated, it was their own fault, and if the newspapers 
used such stories, it was cheap propaganda. Yet there were 
people in his own mission group who had been tortured! Dur- 
ing the exchange in East Africa I watched him stand on the 
pier as the other boat pulled out for Japan, waving at the Japa- 
nese on board, shaking their hands in imagination, with tears 
in his eyes. I felt he was headed the wrong way when he got 
on our boat for America. 

It was unfortunate we had to start home on a Japanese boat, 
for despite all international agreements to give full service, the 
Jap crew took delight in small annoyances. They took down 
the map of the world so we couldn't look at our location I 
suppose they thought we might surmise we were in the Antarc- 
tic Ocean! They turned on the fresh water for washing only 
between 7 and 7.30 a.m. and 5 and 5.30 p.m. After a few days 



296 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

at sea they refused to do any laundry, or even any ironing, nor 
would they allow us to use the pressing-room to do our own 
work They put up a sign: " Due to the lack of water, there 
will be no more pressing! " 

There was a strange number of extreme stomach illnesses, 
f eeling very much like ptomaine poisoning to me. The stew- 
ards refused to obey orders small things like opening a bot- 
tle, bringing drinking water, or getting cups for tea for a wed- 
ding anniversary that was being celebrated. Most of us had to 
dean our own cabins and make the beds. 

On the Gripsholm bringing the Japanese toward exchange, 
they had full privileges of the boat. The bar was open, and die 
Japs consumed 40,000 cases of beer; they had baths, laundry, 
movies, good food and service. However, those poor devils 
were headed toward ultimate defeat in Japan while we were 
headed toward home and ultimate victory in America! 

But there's something enraging about die difference in treat- 
ment: the United States government sent the Japanese diplo- 
mats, businessmen and newspapermen to one of die most ex- 
pegsive hotels in the United States and gave diem a large daily 
amount of spending money; treatment on the Gripfholm was 
fine; while we were hungry and tortured during internment 
in the Far East as guests of Emperor Hirohito, and had our 
troubles on die Asama. 

I am glad my country is fair in its treatment of enemy aliens, 
and sincerely believe they should be well fed, housed, and 
clothed, but I still don't see the necessity of giving them lux- 
uries such as most people never have, and better than any to 
which they were ever accustomed. (You had to pay for that in 
taxes, you know.) 

If aH this had done any good, I should be delighted, but I am 
well enough acquainted with the Japs to know they will gc 
home and laugh at us for being " soft " in our treatment ol 
diem. Even with die golf, tennis, swimming, and luxurious 
quarters at Hot Sulphur Springs, they were always complain 
ing about something, according to records of their stay there 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 297 

But no matter how bad certain things were on the Asama, 
that wasn't important: we were headed home! 

Most of the men lived in cabins " down under," as we called 
it. They were below the waterline in most cases, without port- 
holes. There were sixteen to twenty men in a room, on wooden 
bunks typical Oriental steerage. Instead of being served the 
same food as those on upper decks, according to Washington's 
arrangements made with Japan, they received one plate of cold 
food, dessert, and coffee for their meals. On the Gripsholm 
every person received the same excellent food in the dining- 
rooms regardless of from which part of the ship he came. 

We were all so hungry after our Hong Kong imprisonment, 
that we ate like harvest hands, and it was fortunate that my 
table, at which Frances Baynes, Margaret Walden, Esther 
Grant, Bea Whitham, and Jean Todeman-Wieland also sat, 
was served by table stewards who seemed more amused than 
annoyed by the way we ate everything that was brought to 
us, and asked for more. I think we all had tears in our eyes 
when we saw an orange the first morning at breakfast* It was 
the first fruit in half a year, but, more than that, it was sym- 
bolic of all American health-giving food. 

Down in thfe steerage the stewards always asked first who 
came from Hong Kong, and if there was anything extra, they 
got it. Word seemed to have permeated even die Japanese 
staff about our extreme rationing at Camp Stanley! 

It was fun to watch the poker fans during their twice- 
daily sessions. The siege had started when the members of the 
American Embassy in Tokyo were shut in together after war 
began, and they were now at about their three-hundredth ses- 
sion. Ambassador Grew thoroughly enjoys poker, and it was 
a delight to watch his quizzical white eyebrows presiding over 
the games. I was standing near the table the first day on board 
talking to Carl Boehringer of the Tokyo Embassy, an old 
friend, and out of politeness the Ambassador asked me to join 
in the game. I should have loved to, but felt it was no spot for 
a female. " I feel like the ocean traveler who is warned against 



298 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

professional card-players," I said. "Fve heard this is your 
287th session, and that's no place for an amateur like me! " 

Most of the Tokyo newspapermen were included in the 
games, as well as members of the State Department. These 
newspapermen were also working steadily, preparing stories 
for release to America as soon as we landed in East Africa. 
That would be the first authentic word flashed to the world 
about how Japan had been treating her prisoners. Each day 
there were many typewriters on deck, and for hours it would 
sound like Fleet Street at edition time. 

These men had all been inhumanely treated by the Japs, in 
both Shanghai and Tokyo. Robert Bellaire, manager for the 
United Press in Japan, was beaten and choked by the police be- 
cause he refused to write a propaganda statement. Joseph Dy- 
nan of the Associated Press was also choked, had some of his 
teeth in a bridge knocked out, and received no food for three 
days, as part of his share of Japanese entertainment. Otto D. 
Tolischus of the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winner, was 
charged with espionage and violation of the national defense 
act. He was forced to sit in a solitary cell, Japanese style, until 
wounds opened on his legs. He was slapped repeatedly during 
questioning by police, and once was pardy strangled. 

Max Hill of die Associated Press, Ray Cromley of the Watt 
Street Journal, W. R. Wills of the Columbia Broadcasting 
System, and editor of Japan Newsweek, Phyllis Argall, man- 
aging editor of the same publication, Jack Bellinger of Japcm 
Times and Advertiser, were all held in solitary confinement in 
tiny cells and I can think of no worse torture. So was Percy 
Whiteing of INS, who had not been to the United States in 
thirty-seven years, and was married to a Japanese woman. 

In Shanghai the reporters were imprisoned in Bridge House, 
the " Torture Chambers/' Included among those punished in 
various ways were Victor Keen, New York Herald Tribune*, 
George C. Brace, Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury*; M. C 
Ford, International News Service; Morris J. Harris, Associated 
Press; H. P. Mills, publisher; Frederick B. Opper, 2nd, editoi 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 299 

of the Evening Post and Mercury; Robert V. Perkins, Univer- 
sal News Features; J. B. Powell, China Weekly Review. 

Most of the cells were ten by twelve feet, without ventila- 
tion; electric lights were left on twenty-four hours a day; open 
wooden buckets in the corners were the toilets; the prisoners 
had to sit on the floor, surrounded by diseased Chinese coolies 
and others; the place was vermin-infested, bare, and unheated. 
Sometimes there was not room for everyone to lie down at 
once, so they slept with their legs interlocked. It was in a cell 
of this sort that Fred Twogood, who went to the Orient on the 
same ship I did, was held for one hundred and nine days. 

Three days away from Hong Kong we turned into the 
Saigon River, which led fifty miles to Saigon. The river 
was winding and deep, and it was remarkable how our big 
ship went slipping around the curves. The shores were rich, 
luxuriant tropical land, one of the prizes Japan had gained 
through bargaining with Germany* Without a single shot be- 
ing fired, she had been able to take all of Indo-China, which 
had given her a fine base from which to press on to the Malay 
Peninsula and Singapore. 

We anchored overnight, and a smaller boat arrived cany- 
ing the repatriates from Indo-China, Thailand, and Burma, in- 
cluding Mr. Peck, Minister to Thailand, and Mrs. Peck, pleas- 
ant people whom I had met once in Nanking. Most of these 
Americans had been confined in their homes, or in the Lega- 
tion at Bangkok, and had not been subjected to many indigni- 
ties. But they knew of Japanese actions against the British in 
Malaya, including the daughter which took place in one tin 
mine. Twenty, of the British who worked there remained on 
after surrender, living in a small cabin. The Japs crept up one 
night and threw hand-grenades, killing all but one, who es- 
caped to tell the story by crawling miles through the jungles. 

littk dugout canoes came out from shore, loaded with fruit 
and botdes. The fruit included pineapples, papaya, bananas, 
and coconuts, and we were so starved for fruit that everyone 



300 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

bought vast quantities; many made themselves ill with over- 
abundance after starvation. It was fun to let buckets down the 
side, put in some Japanese military yen we had been lent by 
our government, and see what we got. There was much bar- 
gaining, and friendly rivalry. 

The bottles were made to look like fine French brandy or 
cognac, but they held only alcohol with flavoring, or pungent 
rice wine, about 99 per cent proof. It was sold for from twenty- 
five cents to a dollar, and what stocks were bought by the 
passengers! The Japs, although not willing to open the bar on 
the Asama, were willing for the room stewards to bootleg 
Scotch and gin for eighteen dollars a bottle. That " sampan 
dynamite/' as it was nicknamed, had enough power to grow 
rubber on bushes in New York Qty. 

Early in the morning before we sailed, a dozen sampans 
came out with shirts, shorts, tennis shoes, and cheap cotton 
things at which one ordinarily wouldn't even look, but every- 
one was so desperate for anything, that we bought with de- 
light. I'm sure the boat men and women must have thought 
paradise had opened its gates again, for round-the-world boats 
used to stop here, and trade was brisk. But there had been no 
globe-trotting tours in a long time, thanks to Japan's New Or- 
der of Peace and Prosperity in the Far East. 

Then the Jap soldiers, having finished buying the many 
things they wanted and couldn't get in Japan, began to throw 
water on the boats. One was poled by a thin little old man of 
seventy, who had with him a boy of five who did the selling, 
and a Madonna-faced slender young woman. The Japs, with 
their sadistic streak, poured bucketfols of water over the old 
man, and threw the end of the rope so it hit him. He looked 
up at the deck of the giant ship helplessly and tried to go on 
selling his last few things, but they dumped still more on him. 
As they stood there shouting and laughing at him, anger roared 
up in me at all things Japanese, like die beat of a giant sea. 

As we left the river where it joined the sea, we could see 
dozen of Jap boats, including some battleships. As we pro- 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 30! 

ceeded down the coast, we ran into a group of vessels flying 
the Rising Sun, and they came close and signaled each other. 
" We're surrounded! " I announced, but knew the Japs had 
arranged this meeting, hoping we would be impressed with 
their control of the seas. 

We anchored eighteen miles from Singapore, and a glorious 
sight awaited us there, the Conte Verde, on which we all had 
many friends about whom we had been worried There was a 
Red Cross representative on board the Asama, unfortunately 
a wiss married to a Japanese woman, who was afraid to take 
a stand on anything for fear his family would suffer retaliation. 
One Swiss had recently been a victim of " suicide " in Japan, 
and this one was taking no chances. He went to the other ship, 
however, and returned with a list of those aboard, which we 
eagerly checked to see if those about whom we were especially 
concerned were included. 

The swimming pool on the Conte Verde was being used, 
there was an orchestra for dancing, and the Italians seemed to 
be trying to show their friendliness to the Americans in every 
way. After the conference of the Japanese and Italian officers 
and the Red Cross officials, the pool was ordered closed. I 
guess the Japs didn't want the Americans to think the Italians 
treated the enemy better than they themselves did. 

There was a group of Chilean newspapermen aboard who 
had been guests of Japan on a propaganda tour and were being 
returned to their country now through the courtesy of the 
United States. As their country was then neutral, the Japs 
were still trying to impress them. 

A small boat came to take them into Singapore for a night 
and a day. They were never allowed to investigate for them- 
selves, of course, but were able to see and judge quite a litde. 
A nice young reporter, Carlos Barry Silva of the Diario El 
Chilena, Santiago, told me what they saw. 

There was a seven-o'clock curfew, when everyone had to 
be off the streets. There was not a building or a house which 
did not show signs of the furious fighting, from shells, bombs, 



3O2 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

or machine guns. Many stores were not yet opened, months 
after occupation. On the roads they could see British soldiers 
repairing die roads and doing other manual labor. Americans 
from Japan knew this was true of captured American soldiers 
from Guam also, who are being used as stevedores in Yoko- 
hama and Kobe. 

At noon fifty-two planes flew over in formation, coming 
back to fly extremely low, while the grinning little pilots 
looked down at us, and the Jap crew watched to see how im- 
pressed we were with the sight. Having spent some time in 
Honolulu, where a thousand planes in the air was a fair show, 
I wasn't very susceptible, but I did hate the feeling of being 
still so completely a prisoner of the Japs. 

Loaded mine-layers passed us, former British boats, and we 
saw other converted ships, some British, some Dutch. Appar- 
ently there was some sort of target practice near the shore, for 
we could see geysers spurt into the air as the shots hit near by. 

I had flown from Singapore to Sumatra, Java, Bali, and Bor- 
neo on a previous trip, and how I wished again for days of 
peace when one could visit these lovely islands, some of them 
as near to paradise as are left on this earth! 

A small boat anchored dose to us, and looking up from it 
were two blond children, searching each face, their eyes pray- 
ing they would find their mother and father there. They were 
a little Dutch brother and sister who had been on the way to 
school when war engulfed them in Singapore. It was thought 
their father was in Shanghai and their mother in Java, but no 
one was sure, and there was a chance one might be on our boat. 
During the long hot afternoon they never moved away from 
the rail, wishing, willing their parents to appear. 

At dusk the search was given up, and as the boat pulled 
away I never saw such tearing anguish on children's faces as 
came when those two turned back to their Jap captors men 
whose government had ruled that there be no safety for chil- 
dren anywhere an the wide world. 

We were now two ships as we moved again out to sea, leav- 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 303 

ing Singapore without word of any of the hundreds of Ameri- 
can prisoners there or in Malaya or the East Indies. We went 
near the shores of Sumatra and Java, jade islands in sapphire 
seas. We passed through the Sunda Strait, not far from where 
the Coral Sea battle had taken place, and we wished we knew 
the secrets held by those waters. From these islands had fled 
Dutch, British, and American citizens, harried back from the 
mainland and their islands, pushed roughly by the swelling 
Japanese tide on to the next stop, Australia which we hope 
will be the wall that will hold. 

Somehow all the time we had gone down the coast, clear to 
Singapore, I had a feeling that sometimes American submarine 
periscopes were looking up at us, and that down below were 
men of the American navy who sent us messages of godspeed as 
we turned toward home once more. 

Now we started across the long expanse of the Indian Ocean 
day after day after day of azure sea and sky, and intense 
coral clouds at sundown, standing out against a backdrop of 
gold and purple. The coral fluffs would melt into rose, and 
from ros into a delicate pink, and then would drift lazily down 
into the sea for another night's sleep. 

We had a joyful addition to our group upon the arrival of 
James Theron Ward on July 15, born to Dr. and Mrs. Cecil 
S. Ward of Bessemer, Alabama. The name Seaborn was sug- 
gested, but the proud parents stuck to the one they had planned 
before. Mrs. Ward had been in Stanley under the unhealthful 
conditions there, and it was amazing how unafraid she was as 
we embarked on the two months' trip home, with no baby 
specialist within many thousands of miles only a Japanese 
ship's doctor. I think this was actually a case of the father suf- 
fering the most severely from worry and fear! 

It was a comforting feeling to look across at the Conte 
Verde, half a mile away, to know that if anything happened 
to one ship, the other was so near to bring help. One rough 
evening the rudder of the Asama broke, and suddenly we 
stopped. The Conte Verde went ahead of us, and the Asama 



304 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

swung across her path, all with an abruptness that spelled 
drama of the sea. The Conte Verde proceeded during the 
night, while repairs were made on our ship, but it was a 
strangely lonesome feeling in the morning to look out of my 
porthole first of all, as I always did, and to see only an empty 
ocean. Later we joined forces again, and went on across the 
thousands of miles side by side. 

Once we came close to a single merchant ship, which scut- 
tled off when the Japanese flag was sighted. We hoped its po- 
sition was not reported, for although according to agreement 
these ships on which we were traveling were now neutral, we 
didn't trust the Japs, and we hated to think our home-going 
might bring trouble to some Allied vessel. 

Later on the trip we saw remnants of a ship in the vast 
reaches of the ocean, burning and deserted. Where were the 
crew? What had happend when it had been torpedoed? How 
many men had been drowned, escaped, burned to death? We 
circled the sinking half-ship, in the oil-covered water, but 
could see no life. But here was silent testimony that the world 
was at war that beneath us in the waters were enemy ships, 
searching, searching for ships to sink and men to kill. 

And we, among all the people on the oceans of the world, 
were blessed with the safety of the shining white crosses. On 
the ships were friends escaped from torture and maltreatment, 
going to where love and fine medical care would make them 
well once again. 

Three elderly men who had many times been subjected to 
the " water torture " gave a realistic demonstration one day 
for Ambassador Grew. One was tied with his knees drawn up 
to his chin, his neck being attached to his knees, his hands se- 
curely bound behind him. The cords, in actual torture, had 
penetrated deep under the skin. He was then rolled over with 
his face up, and water was poured into his nose and mouth. 

Sx large buckets of water were used by the Japanese police, 
so that tie subject lost consciousness, and then was brought 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 305 

back to consciousness merely to have the some thing repeated. 
One missionary was given die treatment six separate times. 

In Keijo, Korea, the Reverend Edwin Wade Koons, Dr. 
Edward H. Miller, and Dr. Ralph Oliver Reiner, Presbyte- 
rian missionaries, were tortured because they had taught about 
" Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords," which was 
anti-militaristic propaganda! They were also held in filthy un- 
heated jails, questioned, semi-starvecL 

At Harbin and Dairen, the prisoners were held in jails with 
no heat when it was twenty degrees below zero. 

In Peking the prisoners from near-by Tientsin were put in 
cells nine by twelve feet, punished if they spoke to one another, 
and were allowed exercise only once a week. In one cell was a 
Renter's man with one leg. He begged for his crutches so he 
could give his leg some exercise, and the Japs laughed at him. 

Five American nurses who were captured at Guam had to 
watch the 155 U. S. marines guarding it overwhelmed by the 
expeditionary force of 7,000 Japs sent against them. They were 
Chief Nurse Marion B. Olds, Miss Loraine Christiansen, Miss 
Leona Jackson, Miss Dorris M. Yetter, and Miss Virginia J. 
Fogarty. The last was struck in the face by a Jap sailor be- 
cause she did not understand his order to attend one of the pa- 
tients in the hospital. Their diet in Japan had been mostly cold 
soup and rice, and they had to sleep on a floor in a room heated 
only by an occasional charcoal fire. 

In Zentsuji, where some of the Guam soldiers and other cap- 
tured Americans were held, a thin soup, rice, and black bread 
were the diet, with 25 pounds of meat for 365 men. 

Clarence Meyers, head of Standard Oil in Japan, was hand- 
cuffed so that he could not undress for many days, and had the 
light left on in his cell at all times; and the guards stood day 
after day before his door talking of when he would be shot, as 

a dose of mental torture added to the physical 

Dr. Joseph McSparran, a physician in Yokohama, was forced 
to write a confession of espionage, and then was held in jail 



306 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

for it. The Most Reverend Samuel Heaslitt, British Archbishop 
of the Episcopal Church of Japan, seventy years old, was held 
four months in solitary confinement. 

In Hong Kong fourteen members of American banking 
staffs were slapped and sniped at by the Japanese, who made 
them work at the job of liquidating assets of their own Ameri- 
can banks, including the National Qty Bank of New York, 
the Chase National Bank, and American Express. Because they 
did not know how to answer roll call in Japanese, they were 
boxed on the ears. They were kept in windowless rooms in a 
vermin- and rat-infested dosshouse. Included were Donald Bal- 
lantyne, Harold Waller, Charles Williams, Walter Bossert, 
Theodore W. Lindaberry, Walter Roemer, Samuel Church, 
Don O'Kieffe, Don Hykes, Samuel Bitting. 

Sir Ricardo Rivera Schreiber, Minister from Peru to Japan, 
and Lady Schreiber were held in two small rooms in their Em- 
bassy, and were refused dental care when Lady Schreiber was 
in deep pain for several months. These were people entitled to 
diplomatic immunity in case their country was at war with 
Japan, as it wasn't at the time, but the seal of the Peruvian 
Embassy was ignored by the gendarmerie, and several riots 
were staged in front of it. Japan doesn't care whether a coun- 
try is neutral, or whether a man or woman is entitled to diplo- 
matic immunity. 

People on our ship had talked to an American seaman, who 
had been on the U. S. gunboat Wake when it had been cap- 
tured by the Japs in Shanghai at the outbreak of war, and who 
had escaped after imprisonment. Twenty-five enlisted men and 
two officers were put in a pitch-dark dungeon and let out 
only at night, to use one odorous section of the camp yard as 
a toilet, only at stated periods. They were fed on fish heads, 
rice, and contaminated river water. They were whipped un- 
til unconsciousness rescued them. Straws were put under their 
fingernails and set on fire. Ground glass was placed in their 
shoes, and they were made to walk. Two finally escaped by 
crawling out a drain and through a manhole near Soochow 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 307 

Creek. They had talked to Americans before they escaped 
farther to the Philippines and Australia. 

There were Dr. Harry W. Myers, a teacher of the Presbyte- 
rian Seminary at Kobe, sixty-eight years old, who was held in 
a bitterly cold detention house for a month. Then he 'was put 
in a barren cell, his clothing taken away, and only a prison 
kimono and one thin blanket left him. He developed chil- 
blains and boils, and in February started losing his toenails. His 
ankles were swollen with an incipient threat of gangrene, from 
long hours of sitting in the knee-strained fashion enforced by 
his jailers. 

Doctors aboard our ship said he had barely escaped J. B. 
Powell's fate of losing both his feet. In all, he was separated 
from his elderly wife, a paralysis victim, for six months, after 
a forty-five-year period of teaching in Japan. 

And of course there was my friend Mr. Powell. His feet 
sloughed off from gangrene started by the filth in his cell He 
was denied medical attention until a few days before the ship 
sailed. When last I had seen him in Shanghai, he had weighed 
165 pounds. During exchange a small bundle like a child was 
carried onto our boat heroic J. B. Powell, weighing 70 
pounds! 

These cases I have been citing are not vague " atrocity " 
stories from which Americans shy away because of the un- 
proved propaganda stories of the last war. These are cases 
cited and sworn to by outstanding American citizens of church, 
state, press, and business, all of whom still bore marks of the 
ill treatment, torture, and starvation diet to which the Japa- 
nese had subjected them. Here was living evidence of Nip- 
pon's standards of conduct, honor, and tradition, and final 
proof of the medieval quality of that civilization which con- 
siders itself the potential ruler of the world. These are the 
men we are fighting; these are die things that will happen to 
any peoples who come under their rule yellow, black, brown, 
or white. To defeat them is the task history has assigned to us. 

These tortured fellow passengers were being exchanged for 



308 ] PRISONER OF THE JAPS 

the Japs "who had been held in Hot Sulphur Springs! 

It is evident why excitement grew agonizingly deep in the 
hearts of each of die fifteen hundred of us as we approached 
the time of exchange. We searched the sea, the sky, and the 
horizon as the time neared. We passed close to Madagascar, and 
then came the shining dawn that brought us to the shores of 
East Africa. The low-lying beaches leading back into the Af- 
rican bush looked like a sparkling paradise to us. 

As we neared Lourengo Marques, we saw another sight 
which brought our hearts to our throats the splendid big 
white Gripsholm, bearing across her sides the word " Diplo- 
matique" painted with yellow and blue crosses, and flying the 
brave yellow and blue flag of Sweden, while the white crosses 
of protection stood out proudly from her decks. Our rescue 
ship! 

That brought a surging feeling of exhilaration, but I have 
never been so stirred in my life as when our three ships pulled 
into the harbor. Coming out toward us was a convoy of twelve 
ships, just a dozen gray battered boats, salt-encrusted oil tank- 
ers, small freighters, obscure and unpretentious-looking. 

But flying from the masts of the first was the most beauti- 
ful sight the world could offer to our eyes the Stars and 
Stripes floating proudly, gloriously, and freely in the winds of 
the sea! It was our first sight of it in eight months, and it rep- 
resented all that we had been dreaming about so long home, 
family, traditions, standards of civilized living, the things for 
which the Allied forces are fighting the world over. 

The tanker was part of the convoy, the rest being British, 
and they all pulled near us, blowing their whistles to the 
rhythm of " V " for Victory, while from the decks men waved 
to us like mad. Americans lined the rails of the first boat, wav- 
ing, shouting, saluting our cq^trymen from a free land. 
One by one the other ships passed us, and from the decks of 
the eleven British ships we could hear shouts of "Welcome 
home, Sammy! Welcome home, Sammy! " Just 'the sight of 
those ships, those American men and our British friends, with 



OUT OF HUMAN BONDAGE [ 309 

the knowledge we were nearly out of the hands of the Japs, 
was almost too much for me, and everyone else on board. 
Tears were frank and unashamed in everyone's eyes. We were 
being given our first glimpse of our Promised Land. 

We were each taking back to it memories that time can 
never blot out, for they are etched with acid in our memories. 
Answer will be demanded by those flags we were watching, 
punishment will be meted out to those who created those mem- 
ories: of hungry American and British children digging for 
fallen rice kernels in the dirt of the camp; of men who grew 
haggard and emaciated and starved; of lines of British dead 
with their hands tied, and bayonet wounds in their hearts; of 
the two crosses on the hillside; of the feel of the bare steel 
bayonet across my neck; of the screams of burned and man- 
gled Chinese; of the horror in the eyes of women who were 
gang-raped in brutality and bestiality; of the torture of the 
injured soldiers from whose blood-covered wounds bandages 
were ripped before they were bayoneted. 

We remembered it all at this moment of emancipation, just 
as we will for years to come things we'll never forget nor 
forgive. Torture: made in Tokyo. 

Above us still flew the flag of the Rising Sun, that hate- 
symbol of men who have gone power mad. I ran to my cabin, 
and dug out three long scarves, one of red, one white, one 
blue. I went to the topmost deck, under the shadow of the 
Japanese captain's bridge, and I threw those symbolic ribbons 
to the winds, reaching out toward the near-by ships which 
bore those colors too. That moment of exultation as I saw those 
colors whip out toward that American freighter and those 
British ships will live with me forever. 

We, who had been in human bondage, prisoners of the Japs, 
were now free men and woiaen once more. 



A NOTE ON THE TYPE 

This book was set on the Linotype in Janson, a recut- 
ting made direct from the type cast from matrices made 
by Anton Janson some time between 1660 and 1687. 

Of Janson's origin nothing is known. He may have 
been a relative of Justus Janson, a printer of Danish 
birth who practised in Leipzig from 1614 to 1635. Some 
time bePween 2657 and 1668 Anton Janson, a punch- 
cutter and type-founder, bought from the Leipzig 
printer Johann Erich Hahn the type-foundry 'which 
had formerly been a part of the printing house of M. 
Friedrich Lankisch. Jansorfs types were first shown in 
a specimen sheet issued at Leipzig about 167 f. 




Composed, printed, and bound by The Plimpton Press, 
Norwood, Mass.